Kurling for Kids
A father’s love, a community’s generosity
In 1996, Jessica Sears checked into Sainte-Justine to undergo delicate brain surgery. The procedure went without a hitch and she has not suffered any long-term adverse effects. Today, Jessica is a vibrant, active young woman.
In the aftermath of this highly emotional experience, Jessica’s father, Robert Sears, felt he “owed a lifelong debt” to the hospital that saved his daughter’s life. He decided to pour his heart and soul into paying back this debt.
For the past 20 years, he has shown exceptional leadership in galvanizing more than 700 volunteers to organize charity curling tournaments across the province. As a result, Kurling for Kids has “swept in” more than $2.5 million for Montreal’s two pediatric facilities in order to purchase high-tech medical equipment.
In 2016, thanks to these efforts, Sainte-Justine became the first children’s hospital in Canada to acquire an MRI-guided neurosurgical laser to treat serious cases of epilepsy and tumours located in areas of the brain that are difficult to reach using conventional surgery.
This is an excellent example of how the tireless determination of Robert Sears and his supporters has helped deliver the very best in pediatric medicine to ensure more and more children can look forward to a healthy future.
Sincere thanks to you all!
Reaching out to the many families affected by food allergies and bringing them together was no small feat for the ByeByeAllergies group. But they managed to pull it off—and how!
In only two years, this dedicated team with the support of other CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation donors, has raised more than $1.1 million to make the dream of young allergy sufferers and their parents come true: a new oral immunotherapy clinic to treat severe food allergies. This is the first facility of its kind in Quebec outside of a research context.
A new allergy-free horizon is now opening up to hundreds of children in the province—children like Nathan, who has been allergic to milk since birth. He is one of the dozens of young patients who took part in the immunotherapy research led by Drs. Philippe Bégin and Anne Des Roches.
The results to date have been phenomenal. The gradual desensitization process makes it possible to cure these allergies. You read that right: cure. Nathan is already drooling at the thought of eating cheese. “We’re talking poutine and lasagna!” he says excitedly.
We are tremendously grateful to all of these parents for their determination, as well as to all of our donors for their generosity. Thank you for giving these children a chance to enjoy food without the threat of an allergic reaction—and for allowing their parents to relax in the kitchen!
Strength and courage,
straight from the heart
Carla Chirinian and Alex Vahe Nahabedian are the proud parents of Talia, a wonderful young woman who was born with a severe form of tetralogy of Fallot, a common congenital heart defect.
Talia has been a fighter since birth. After one major cardiac procedure when she was barely a week old, she spent the first year of her life with a blood oxygen level of only 75%. The damage to her cognitive development was inevitable.
But even after three open-heart surgeries, the ever-vivacious Talia defied all the odds. She has made excellent progress and today, at age 15, spends less and less time at Sainte-Justine. She likes to giggle and tease—and her joie de vivre is nothing less than contagious. “See how happy she is?” her mother says. “How could I sit down and cry when I’m around her? It’s impossible!”
Since 2013, her parents and some of their friends have been organizing a biennial fundraiser they’ve dubbed the Talia’s Gala to benefit Sainte-Justine’s Neurocardiology Investigation Clinic, run by cardiac surgeon Lionel Carmant.
After only three galas, they have already raised just under $240,000 to help children living with a complex congenital cardiopathy that puts their neurological development at risk.
On behalf of all of these children, we would like to express our admiration and our appreciation to Talia, Carla and Alex for everything they’ve done. Thank you!
Femmes de tête,
femmes de chœur
Lifting their voices in song to lift
the spirits of our young patients
On November 30, 2015, young Christopher, a patient at the Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Centre (CRME), wowed a standing-room-only crowd at the Centre CDP Capital Parquet with his interpretation of “Blue Christmas.” He was one of several children from the CRME to perform in a concert at the launch of a very special holiday album, Du fond du chœur.
Also featured on the album were the voices of a talented group of 50 women from the Montreal business community. Both the CD and the concert were part of the Femmes de tête, femmes de chœur project, a fundraiser in support of the CRME’s Mélio Foundation and the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.
Initiated by Annie Lemieux and singer Judith Bérard and brought to life by Catherine Sévigny, then-director of the Mélio Foundation, the project was inspired by the “Sing for Sainte-Justine with Céline Dion” contest, created in 2014 as part of the Healing More Better campaign.
Their efforts brought in over $175,000 for the children of Sainte-Justine and the CRME—handily beating the original $150,000 target.
Thank you to all of these inspirational women for singing—and giving—from their hearts.