When our son Alexandre was born in 2008, neither one of us had ever heard of Congenital Cytomegalo Virus or “CMV”. There we were, sitting in an office at the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba experiencing what I wish on no parent. Doctors proceeded to tell us what our son had been diagnosed with and what he would have to go through. First, they would recommend he undergo 6 weeks of highly toxic medication called Gancyclovir. For this, he would need to have a peripherally inserted central catheter installed so they could send the meds directly into his body.
He would have to spend the 6 weeks at the hospital, and if his immune system stayed strong enough, he would be given day passes to go home. Then he would be monitored closely for hearing and vision loss, in addition to physio therapy, occupational therapy and socio-developmental issues. Those first few months of our first-born’s life were a painful blur. We prayed and hoped that our son would be one of the few that escaped serious repercussions. Throughout all of this, our newborn son was incredibly strong and Michelle and I never wavered or lost hope.
During one of the especially difficult treatment days in 2008, my wife and I looked over to our crying son and promised him that we would do something about CMV. We vowed that once things settled down and life got back to normal, we would to do our part to help.
Over time, that promise to our son evolved. It took time, but eventually, we held our first fundraising event: “Le Classique” in February 2013. We raised an impressive $7,000 in our first ever crack at fundraising. It was a modest success, but we knew that things would be better the second time around. The second edition of Le Classique was much bigger and better than the first. When the cash registers were all tallied up, we raised over $25,000 for the cause. Now in our third year, we’ve set the bar a little bit higher, as we’d like to raise $50,000 for the foundation.
The reality is that we founded the Canadian CMV Foundation out of necessity, quite simply because there was no such Canadian charity that existed that suited our needs for philanthropy. Although there were a plethora of American and international charities devoted to the same cause as ours, there was nothing established in Canada. Money raised needed to go somewhere, and we wanted to be able to provide our donors with Canadian eligible tax receipts. We decided to fill that void by creating a foundation for all Canadian citizens. The Canadian CMV Foundation was born.