“When you’re a kid and your friend has cancer, it’s hard to understand what they’re going through. I was eight when my best friend was diagnosed with brain cancer. I learned he was sick, and then he was suddenly gone for a year to receive treatment in Montreal. A year is a long time for a kid to be separated from his friends.
Life goes on afterwards. He came back home and we spent time together, but we never really talked about the cancer. One time, a children’s charity gifted him a Commodore 64 computer. We all thought he was lucky – little did we know how naïve we were.
When we last met up seven years ago, his eyesight had been severely impacted by the cancer, which had returned. I promised to meet up with him again soon, but we never got that chance. He died two weeks later.
This wasn’t my only experience losing someone to cancer unfortunately. In 1998, my father lost his wife, mother and little sister to cancer over the course of nine months. This was honestly a terrible wake up call for our family. We became invested in supporting cancer charities, something that continued to gain significance following my dad’s death from cancer in 2011 and my mother’s diagnosis in 2012.
As a kid growing up in Quebec, Tour CIBC Charles Bruneau was something I saw frequently on TV. Later, when I joined the team at CIBC, I got to see firsthand the dedication and care that we invest in the Charles Bruneau Foundation. Three years ago I began an annual cocktail fundraiser. In our first two years, we raised $47,000 and $87,000. Last year, we hoped to exceed the $100,000 mark, but had to put the event on pause due to COVID-19.
Regardless of what form our fundraising efforts take this year, I know people are still going to do their best to support these children facing cancer. I have three children and I never take their health for granted. I’m also a firm believer that we don’t need a reason or personal connection to an issue to want to help each other, we should just help because it’s the right thing to do. Children with cancer and their families need us. I’m proud to be part of a team that sees that and wants to make a difference any way we can.”
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