Donor's stories

Louise and André Babkine


Donor's stories

Louise and André Babkine

Parents of a patient

A donation in memory of Valérie, who loved people and loved life

At 42 years old, our daughter, Valérie, a mother of two, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer that had already spread to her ovaries. There was little hope of a cure.

As her parents, we were devastated by this news. Valérie was, too, of course, but she wasn’t the type to give up. She stayed true to herself, confident and kind, until her very last breath. “I’m happy and in high spirits,” she wrote to the HMR Foundation donors in 2013.

She spent many years working as a lawyer specialized in family and housing law, and took her work so personally that she thought it might have even caused her cancer. She made a career switch to the philanthropic management sector.

After finding out she had such a serious type of cancer, Valérie resolved to live long enough to see her children, then 13 and 14, get through their teen years. She was ready to fight and, alongside the team at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, that’s exactly what she did, and with no shortage of courage. 

The battle was a tough one, involving three years of chemotherapy, and constant nausea, fatigue, weight loss, and hair loss. Our daughter also had several surgeries.

Despite everything, the cancer spread, but Valérie continued to fight and put others first. At the hospital, Valérie was the one who comforted her husband, children, friends, even other patients, even when the disease, which had reached her bones by that point, caused her agonizing pain.

But, for Valérie, all that hardship meant that she’d been lucky enough to survive another three years! She often said, “The doctors at HMR just keep saving my life!” And her cancer didn’t stop her from travelling, learning how to bellydance, or going dancing, despite her condition.

Up until the moment of her death in 2013, our daughter never stopped living. Until the very end, she always said how grateful she was for the care she’d received at HMR. As her parents, we chose to make a donation to the HMR Foundation because we also feel extremely grateful for a number of different reasons.

First of all, the support we received from the entire staff at HMR during those long, difficult years was amazing. Thanks to HMR, Valérie was also able to spend three more happy years with her family. She was also there to be a mother to her children for all that time, which was her deepest wish.

We wanted to thank the wonderful team of doctors, researchers, nurses, and attendants who cared for her so skilfully and kindly. Their informed decisions, professional and technical expertise, and compassion were instrumental in slowing the onslaught of that mortal enemy, cancer.

Finally—and most importantly—our donation will help to fund other advances in cancer research, until the disease is finally beaten for good and other beautiful people like our daughter stop being taken from us too soon…

Compared to the generosity shown by Valérie and by everyone at HMR, this donation is the least we could do, and we hope it will inspire other donors to do the same, because it will take a lot of generosity to beat cancer and other incurable diseases!


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