"I always admired the devotion and excellence of the professionals at the three hospitals that formed what is now the CHUM."

Hélène Caillé Bossé and her CHUM story

Hélène Caillé Bossé’s story is intertwined with the CHUM’s history. As a young girl, she had her tonsils removed by Dr. Blain at Hôpital Notre-Dame, where she stayed several other times over the years, including a stay for jaundice. At that time, Hôpital Notre-Dame was the premier French-language secular hospital in Montréal and already a leader in healthcare.

A few years later, Hélène began her career working for a well-respected airline. She travelled the world before landing a job in marketing and advertising. In the meantime, she married Dr. Jean-Paul Bossé, then director of the plastic surgery department at Hôpital Notre-Dame.

She remembers him with admiration:

“He believed a great deal in young medical professionals. He developed international exchanges that let many students train outside of Quebec and then return to work at the hospital.”

Over the years, she also visited Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, one of the top hospitals in North America, where her grandfather was treated, and Hôpital Saint-Luc where she herself was treated for a severe inflammatory disease.

Alongside her husband, she was very involved in organizing a fundraiser at the Hôtel Méridien in Montréal in 1981 that raised over $40,000 to buy a microscope. Immersed in the medical world, Hélène developed a strong belief in philanthropy and understood early on how important donations are to supporting healthcare professionals and hospitals.

In 1996, Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, Hôpital Notre-Dame and Hôpital Saint-Luc merged to become the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM). Two years later, the CHUM Foundation was launched.

“All three hospitals offered similar healthcare services, but each one had its own medical specialties,” she says. “So, the three hospitals merged to benefit their patients. That was what made the most sense, creating the CHUM, a hospital that belongs to all of us. I am proud to be able to say that the CHUM’s story is also my own story and the story of thousands of Quebecers.”

After her husband passed away at Hôpital Notre-Dame in 2014 following several stints in the hospital, Hélène decided to write the CHUM Foundation into her will.

She explains:

“I always admired the devotion and excellence of the professionals at the three hospitals that formed what is now the CHUM. They’ve always taken care of the people I loved most—my grandfather, my mother, my husband. It just makes sense to support my hospital. That’s why I added the CHUM Foundation to my will, so that future generations will always have access to the most advanced treatment that medical science has to offer. It’s how I can have a meaningful, long-lasting impact on medicine in the future. I hope others do the same.”

The CHUM continues to be part of Hélène’s story, as she visits Dr. Coutu and Dr. Reeves at the CHUM regularly to monitor her cardiac health.

Thinking about making a legacy donation? Learn more here.


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