Foreword from the CEO

Dear philanthropists, friends, and partners

What a privilege it has been to count on your trust and commitment over the past year.

Together, we have been focused on growing beyond for the mothers, children, and families at CHU Sainte-Justine since the launch of our historic fundraising campaign in June 2023. Our teams are more motivated than ever before, and it’s all thanks to you!

Every day, you help us revolutionize pediatric care and research in ways both great and small. These ground-breaking advancements are changing lives in Quebec and beyond, and they’ll continue to do so into the future.

This report highlights the impact of some of the many initiatives made possible by your generosity in recent months. These transformative initiatives embody and bolster the very best that CHU Sainte-Justine has to offer: its unique health care, human approach, exceptional talent pool, and cutting-edge technology.

I truly hope that you take pride in contributing to such an inspiring project—one aimed at improving the future of health care for children and society as a whole.

Growing beyond together means
reaching greater heights,
fostering hope,
and expanding horizons by the thousands.

On behalf of children and families across Quebec, as well as the care and research teams making strides each day with the help of your collective efforts,

THANK YOU for your support!

Delphine Brodeur

Delphine Brodeur

President and CEO
CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation

You empower care teams to grow beyond for every child

State-of-the-art equipment

Precision health care and technology go hand in hand. This year, you joined forces with teams by providing them with cutting-edge equipment that has transformed the care they’re able to provide. Between accelerated case management and more precisely targeted therapy, the result is fewer side effects, faster recovery, and greater prevention.

Most importantly, children can get back to enjoying their childhoods sooner. 

Lily-Rose was diagnosed with a malignant tumour when she was just 18 months old. Thanks to a complex surgery that couldn’t have been done without fluorescence imaging technology, she was able to avoid having to undergo a liver transplant.

Fluorescence imaging: a surgeon’s ally

The ability to visualize tumours accurately to improve precision during surgery is just one of the many possible applications of the fluorescence imaging technology you helped us acquire. This essential equipment will be used in a multitude of surgical procedures and has already helped transform the prognosis of seriously ill children.

  • Your generosity shines through every day for care teams and their young patients

    This year, your donations helped fund a new piece of equipment that puts CHU Sainte-Justine at the forefront of paediatric surgery:  fluorescence imaging technology.

    Already used for adult patients, this innovative technology is one of the best tools used in surgery, with applications in oncology, gastroenterology, plastic surgery, liver surgery, and many other areas.

    The concept is simple. In the case of surgery to remove a liver tumour, for example, the device is used to pinpoint the diseased areas:

    • The patient is injected with a fluorescent liquid that is nontoxic to humans.
    • In the operating room, the team uses a handheld scanner to help visualize the operating area. The affected tissue is illuminated on a screen.
    • The imaging tool allows the surgeon to remove the tumour while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact.
    • Before the procedure is completed, the team can confirm blood flow in real time to verify that the organ is functioning properly.

    In addition to increasing surgical precision, fluorescence imaging technology helps reduce complication rates and leads to faster recovery. It also makes it possible to perform highly complex surgeries, or even to avoid having to do a transplant.

    At the end of the day, young patients can therefore get back to being kids again sooner.

    “When you use the device, it’s like seeing stars light up: it shows you exactly where you need to operate. By helping us acquire this device, donors have given our teams the ability to offer the latest, most sophisticated medical solutions. It will benefit children all over Quebec!”

    Dr. Caroline LemoineSurgeon

Vision care for more children

The ophthalmologists at Sainte-Justine sought to treat as many children as possible, but they lacked space and equipment. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the ophthalmology clinic has been able to open two new examination rooms. Starting this fall, Quebec’s leading vision specialists will be able to treat an additional 5,000 children annually.

Seven-year-old Mellina, cared for by ophthalmologists at CHU Sainte-Justine since her premature birth at 25 weeks and 5 days.
  • Caring for the eyes of even more children in Quebec

    They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. The 10 members of CHU Sainte-Justine’s ophthalmology clinic—the second-largest in Canada—couldn’t agree more. Offering various forms of care for some 15,000 children province-wide, these vision specialists play a crucial role in children’s health.

    They treat urgent and complex cases, such as patients with retinoblastoma, the most common type of eye cancer among children, while also providing basic care for vulnerable patients.

    “Our patients range from premature babies to teenagers. We cover all subspecialties, including surgery, retinal diseases, and glaucoma. We currently serve as the Quebec-wide referral centre for multiple forms of eye disease.”

    Dr. Patrick HamelHead of the Ophthalmology Department

    Striving for shorter waiting lists

    With so many patients to care for, the ophthalmology clinic has had a lengthy waiting list for several years. But all that is about to change: thanks to you, our incredible donors, the clinic will soon have two new examination rooms complete with state-of-the-art equipment. In addition, new, portable instruments will enable care teams to reach bedsides more easily, especially in the neonatal unit.

    These changes will allow the team to treat approximately 100 more patients a week, or roughly 5,000 more per year.

    This project will change the lives of thousands of children, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your generosity.

A refuge for families from all over Quebec

Humanizing health care

At CHU Sainte-Justine and the Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Centre (CRME), patients and their families come first. Providing patient-centered care is a daily commitment. It is a pledge rooted in compassion, a fundamental principle within our institution, and one that takes concrete form thanks to your generosity.

With your invaluable support, the Foundation can continue to invest in innovative projects that center health care around patients and their families. Here are two examples of how your contributions have made a difference.

“It’s hard to watch your child undergo round after round of chemo. Sainte-Justine stands apart. They take the time to explain things and listen. It was our home for almost a month.”
Alicia mother of 6-year-old Mia, treated at Sainte-Justine for B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Demystifying blood tests

At this very moment, your donations are helping us create a more welcoming environment for families at our blood test centre. In the coming weeks, the waiting room will be decorated with a colourful mural that walks children through each step of getting a blood test.

You’re making a real difference! The CHU Sainte-Justine blood test centre welcomes roughly 200 patients a day.

Helpful for both kids and adults, the new mural answers questions like “Will it hurt?” and “How much blood will they take?”

Positive distraction is widely recognized as a way to help patients relax, reduce anxiety, and even lessen the perception of pain.

In addition to the mural, we will integrate visual distraction elements at the entrance, in the waiting room play area, and along the way to the medical technologist’s consultation room to help guide patients through the blood test centre. This initiative will add a touch of fun and reassurance to the blood test procedure.

Bringing the benefits of music to patients’ bedsides

Musical performances organized in partnership with the Société pour les arts en milieu de santé (SAMS), and made possible by your generosity, have been spreading joy throughout CHU Sainte-Justine and the Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Centre (CRME) since last December. Talented artists, performing solo or in pairs, have already stopped by to entertain many children and mothers-to-be, including patients at the eating disorder centre, high-risk pregnancy unit, pediatric intensive care unit, and CRME residence unit.

We were lucky enough to have a harpist come to the CRME. The children were captivated by the performance. In the high-risk pregnancy unit, the concert we organized drew a very emotional response. Each time, the music lifted the patients’ spirits. Thank you for helping us give them these moments of joy!
Rachel Tremblay-Belanger Head of Volunteer Services, CHU Sainte-Justine

Music helps to improve the patient experience. It can be an effective way to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety and pain, all while improving mood and the quality of human interactions and care relationships.

With your invaluable support, we hope to continue providing this wonderful service to as many children and expectant mothers as possible, especially our inpatients, in the months and years to come.

A helping hand for the next generation of doctors and patients

Academic funds

CHU Sainte-Justine is the largest university hospital centre specializing in maternal and child health in Canada. In fact, 80% of Quebec paediatricians complete their training at Sainte-Justine. Some 25 years ago, a group of dedicated physicians committed to supporting Sainte-Justine’s teaching mission through personal donations: this is how the very first academic fund was created in 1998.

Since then, your generous contributions have been added to theirs—notably through the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation’s matching-fund scholarship program—to support subspecialty training for doctors from here and abroad, thus enabling the kind of knowledge sharing from which the most promising innovations emerge.

This alliance between doctors and donors is as unique as it is promising. Today, 28 departments and services at Sainte-Justine benefit from academic funds, and nearly $30 million in total contributions have been used to provide scholarships to approximately 500 fellows.

The future starts here, and the legacy you leave by contributing to Sainte-Justine’s academic funds will last for generations to come. Thank you for partnering with us.

Dr. Gabrielle Gour-Provençal: a Sainte-Justine physiatrist in Paris

“People here often say it must be difficult to leave home to complete a fellowship. Personally, it’s hard to imagine *not* doing it. Exploring other approaches, challenging yourself, expanding your network, combining knowledge and improving on it: there’s no better way to prevent knowledge from stagnating.”
Dr. Gabrielle Gour-Provençal Fellow
  • Your support is giving wings to this young doctor, who has big plans for paediatric physiatry at CHU Sainte-Justine

    “I discovered Sainte-Justine while taking an elective during my clerkship. Almost immediately, I told the head of the physical medicine and rehabilitation department, Dr. Laberge-Malo, that I would be back to work here someday.”

    Dr. Gabrielle Gour-Provençal began her career as an athletic therapist with a number of top-tier sports organizations, including CF Montréal. She then completed her doctorate in medicine, followed by a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation—combined with a master’s degree in biomedical sciences—at the Université de Montréal. She instantly fell in love with the field of paediatric physiatry, which deals with the diagnosis, medical treatment, and rehabilitation of neuromusculoskeletal pathologies.

    “It involves all the aspects of medicine that I think of as fundamental: close contact and collaboration with patients and families, multidisciplinary teamwork, technological innovation, and much more! Being around children helps revive our sense of wonder. These patients represent our future: optimizing their quality of life and helping them reach their full potential will benefit society as a whole.”

    Thanks to your support, Dr. Gour-Provençal is currently completing a one-year complementary training program in Paris, at Hôpital Armand-Trousseau and at the Saint-Maurice campus of Hôpitaux Paris Est Val-de-Marne—two of the leading institutions in France, with internationally recognized expertise in dysraphism (spinal cord malformations), limb malformations, and other neuromusculoskeletal pathologies.

    “The patient volume, rare pathologies, and diversity of treatments I’ve been exposed to here is quite extraordinary. In return, I’ve been asked to promote a partnership-based approach to care that focuses on collaborating with paediatric patients and their families—a core concept at Sainte-Justine that I’m proud to bring to France.”

    When Dr. Gour-Provençal returns to Quebec in September 2024, she will have acquired extensive expertise in the assessment and comprehensive care of youth with neuromusculoskeletal pathologies and/or multiple disabilities. Her knowledge will benefit teams at the Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Centre (CRME), as well as patients and families across Quebec.

    “I can’t wait to start my practice at Sainte-Justine. Thanks to my fellowship, I now have the tools to implement a more integrated trajectory, particularly in the transition to adult care; offer new consultations in adapted sports; pursue the development of an international network of experts; and much more. It’s opened so many doors! A matching-fund fellowship is life-changing for doctors, and has a ripple effect on countless lives. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

    Dr. Gabrielle Gour-Provençal Fellow

Dr. Gianluca D’Onofrio: A fellowship in Quebec to help advance neuropediatrics

“When I arrived at CHU Sainte-Justine, I was simply a paediatrician with a background in neuropaediatrics. Now, I can say that I’ve fully adopted a neuropaediatric approach. The experience transformed my career and I’m extremely grateful.”
Dr. Gianluca D’Onofrio Fellow
  • Thanks to you, talent and ideas are being shared for the well-being of children and families throughout Quebec, and far beyond

    “Montreal is a vibrant hub and a cosmopolitan city that offers a great quality of life. At Sainte-Justine, we rub shoulders with caregivers, researchers, and families from all over the world. It’s so rewarding, both professionally and personally, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”

    Originally from Italy, Dr. Gianluca D’Onofrio completed his medical studies in Naples and at the University of Strasbourg in France. He then undertook a paediatrics residency in Padua, followed by a doctorate in paediatric neurology in Genoa, which led to a two-year fellowship at the Université de Montréal (UdeM) and CHU Sainte-Justine. Dr. D’Onofrio joined Sainte-Justine’s team of experts in paediatric brain pathologies in July 2022, thanks to a matching-fund scholarship.

    “I’m fortunate to be working alongside incredible doctors with such inspiring subspecialties: neuro-oncology, neurogenetics, neuro-inflammatory diseases, neurovascular and neuromuscular diseases, headaches, movement disorders, epilepsy, and more, like Dr. Aris Hadjinicolaou, and so many other colleagues who have shown me exceptional generosity and openness. These are invaluable relationships that I will nurture for years to come.”

    In addition to his training and his role as a medical professional, Dr. D’Onofrio is a tutor at UdeM and an active member of the Canadian League Against Epilepsy. Above all, as a fellow aspiring to become a clinician-researcher, he is participating in various research projects, including those led by Dr. Elsa Rossignol, the Canada Research Chair in Neurobiology of Epilepsy.

    Dr. D’Onofrio also works with Dr. Sébastien Perrault, a fellow matching-fund scholarship recipient in 2011. Dr. Perrault currently leads a research team that has been supported by the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation since 2018. As co-author of a case study on the therapeutic potential of trametinib—a promising drug, particularly in the treatment of refractory epilepsy—Dr. D’Onofrio is committed to promoting the work of Centre de recherche Azrieli du CHU Sainte-Justine in Europe.

    “Across the globe, health care needs are becoming more pronounced, more complex, and more targeted. Matching-fund scholarships are critical: without this type of financial support and demonstration of confidence, how could doctors undertake such long-term complementary training? After completing a fellowship, doctors have more knowledge, offer improved care, and are better prepared to support their patients and manage resources. These scholarships are a real gift that benefits society.”

    Dr. Gianluca D’OnofrioFellow

    Thank you for helping Dr. D’Onofrio propel his expertise to new heights. Because of your support, countless children in Quebec and abroad stand to benefit from the fruits of his brilliant career.

By supporting these projects, you allowed the CHU Sainte-Justine teams to grow beyond what seems impossible. You opened a world of possibilities and transformed the lives of thousands of children and families across Québec.

Two hands making a heart shape