I grew up in a large family. We always helped one another and pulled together when times got tough. We never turned our back on anyone. It’s a huge comfort to think about that right now, with COVID-19 raging on. While lives are being torn apart, I like to remind myself there will always be people like you and me to guard the fort. One act of kindness at a time. And we can be very proud of that.

Everyone has a fort to protect. My fort, the cause that is close to my heart, as a mother and the youngest of 14 siblings, is children – their health, their future. It’s always been important to me. They are the greatest gift life can give us and we have to take good care of them. The pandemic has made this clearer than ever.

My children are healthy. I know just how lucky I am to be able to say that. Nobody wants to end up in the hospital with a sick child, but when things go wrong, we all know where to go: Sainte-Justine.

Sainte-Justine is a beacon of hope that never fades away. Even when a storm comes along and shakes your world to the core. Sainte-Justine is a close-knit family you can count on to light your way. Because there will always be children to care for and who need our help to grow up healthy. No matter how fiercely the winds out there may blow.

Today, on National Philanthropy Day, I’d like to thank you for joining me in choosing to be there for children. Despite the distance that is keeping everyone apart right now, the pandemic is actually bringing us closer together than ever before. It is showing us how each of our actions, each of our decisions, makes a difference for the people around us, whether we know them or not.

Your commitment to Sainte-Justine has a very real impact. You are laying the foundations for the future of today’s children and generations to come. And you can’t put a price on that.

Celine Dion

Celine Et Famille De Sainte Justine
© Olivier Samson Arcand / OSA / Feeling
Celine Et Famille De Sainte Justine 3
© Olivier Samson Arcand / OSA / Feeling

Very early in life, before I had children of my own, I understood that investing in pediatric medicine had the power to bring hope and the promise of a better tomorrow. Almost thirty years ago, my 16-year-old niece Karine, who was a patient here at Sainte-Justine, passed away after a long battle with cystic fibrosis.

Céline and her niece Karine.

Every time I’ve come back since then, I’ve seen with my own eyes how vital the research is, how incredible the advances being made are and how the teams make sure every patient gets the very best medical treatment, but always with a profoundly human touch.

All this is possible because there are people like you to support their most promising ideas.

Today, I’m thinking of other patients like my beloved Karine and wondering, ‘What will it mean, 30 years from now, to be a sick child, to get treated and to grow into an adult? How will we look back on it all?’

I can’t predict the future, but I can tell you that pediatric medicine is making huge strides right now. It’s advancing in leaps and bounds. It really is. And faster than ever. Our pledge to the children and families of today and tomorrow is enormous. It’s only with our help – yours and mine – that Sainte-Justine can bring this pledge to life.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there, for giving what you can give. Thank you for joining me, alongside the teams and families of Sainte-Justine, in looking to the future. Thank you for deciding to make children’s health a priority. Now. And in the years to come.

In 2020, choosing Sainte-Justine as a fort to protect means choosing to elevate ourselves as a society. One act of kindness at a time.

Happy National Philanthropy Day to you all!