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Like Andrée Despins: Donate for breast cancer research!

Always do more and do better. Go the extra mile. These goals motivated Andrée every day of her life. They’re also the foundation of the act of kindness that she made at the end of 22 years of hope and adversity: her legacy donation. As a nurse, she wanted to revolutionize the way breast cancer patients are treated. Promising research has been made possible through her generosity and by people who, like her husband, supported her wishes.

Andrée was clear-eyed and determined, and believed strongly in research. Dr. Breton, a doctor at the CHUM for 30 years and the Rector of the Université de Montréal from 2010 to 2020, has personally witnessed the crucial role of donations in helping teams push the boundaries of medicine.

All funds raised by this campaign will support virus therapy research, led by Dr. Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault. 

“Andrée was my muse and my closest companion. She always motivated others to be better, especially me. That’s why I decided to double her legacy donation by making my own personal donation, as well as asking our community for support.”

That video is in French only

Two decades of care at the CHUM

Andrée was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in July 2000. She was treated rapidly at the CHUM, where medical teams operated on her. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy as part of a research protocol that she agreed to participate in. She went into remission—a time full of worries, but Andrée remained positive. She savoured precious moments with friends and family.

In 2007, Andrée developed cancer a second time, this time in her other breast. Once again, experts at the CHUM supported her in this challenging time. She showed remarkable resilienceand managed to get back on her feet once again.

In December 2018, Andrée learned that the cancer had spread to her liver and thorax. Her caregivers at the CHUM provided her with the support she needed to bravely undergo new treatments and enjoy life for another three and a half years. She kept her beautiful smile, and above all, the hope that she could continue her journey.


“Andrée was energetic and demanding. She defied the grim statistics several times over. Last January, she passed away in my arms, at the end of a short stay on the CHUM’s palliative care unit. Her passing left a huge void in our lives, but her legacy donation fills us with faith, hope and pride.”

Andrée Despins, épouse de Dr Guy Breton

Virus therapy, a hopeful approach for breast cancer patients

Donations from Andrée and her husband, and from people like you, are key to preventing recurrences and saving lives. You support research teams like Dr. Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault’s—teams who are working to find solutions.

Virus therapy is a good example. Studies show that breast cancer could be eradicated by injecting an oncolytic virus — a virus created entirely in a lab. The virus attacks the tumour and makes it possible for the immune system to recognize and destroy this cancer in the case of a recurrence.

“I have faith in the immense potential of this treatment, having seen numerous mice in which cancerous tumours entirely disappeared following vaccination. We know that it works. We still have to unlock some of the mysteries of the immune system so that we can effectively apply the treatment to humans.” —Dr. Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault

Recherche scientifique

Currently, the CHUM Research Centre is the only laboratory in the world with the expertise to carry out Dr. Bourgeois-Daigneault’s work. Donations will help this innovative, hopeful approach move forward. 

Le saviez-vous?

According to science, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Although the disease primarily affects women, the Canadian Cancer Society estimates that, in 2021, 270 men in Canada were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 55 men died from the disease.

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Help Andrée and her family support breast cancer research.

The CHUM Foundation would like to thank Andrée Despins and Dr. Guy Breton for their personal donations to this campaign, totalling $100,000. If you would like to find out more about legacy donations like Andrée’s, please visit this web page.


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Soyons plus proches que jamais,
inscrivez-vous à notre infolettre!

Soyons plus proches que jamais,
inscrivez-vous à notre infolettre!