A woman of heart and conviction

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This article is adapted from the Foundation’s magazine

Of her own accord, the philanthropist found herself at the epicentre of international initiatives to advance the COLCORONA clinical trial, along with Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif. Passionate and driven by a genuine desire to save lives, she joined the battle just like she has for countless other causes.

Health in all its forms

Every commitment Ms. Desmarais makes or project she gets involved in—when she’s not busy leading the charge—is related to health and wellness.

First, there’s physical health. Ms. Desmarais and her family are longtime partners of the Montreal Heart Institute.

She’s also deeply committed to issues related to mental health, physical integrity and access to culture. Whether it’s through the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation,

La rue des Femmes, or the Sophie Desmarais Fund for the Université de Montréal Big Band, her involvement is always focused on fulfilment for all.

“To build a solid community, every aspect that impacts the well-being of citizens has to be considered,” she said.

The essence of philanthropy

For Ms. Desmarais, being a philanthropist is a matter of generosity and sacrifice rather than money.

She feels that certain misconceptions about philanthropy stop many people from giving, because they don’t think they have much to offer. “But giving can mean different things. Money? Great. But we can also donate our time, do someone a favour, prepare a meal or just lend moral support. Making a difference is what counts.”

Supporting innovation

Ms. Desmarais leads by example. She has been an incredibly generous financial partner from the early days of the COLCORONA study.

In addition to her monetary support, she graciously offered her assistance, her resources and many hours of her time to Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif. She spent the last few months doing everything in her power to help the operational side of the clinical trial he’s leading.

Having spent so much time with prominent figures in the COLCORONA trial, Ms. Desmarais was able to witness the superhuman efforts made by healthcare workers this past year, whom she speaks of with tremendous admiration: “I’d like to hug everyone who’s been working on the front lines and thank them personally. But thank you just wouldn’t be enough. They’ve shown tremendous courage. All of the people working hard to save lives are truly inspiring.”

The battle that healthcare professionals continue to wage is unprecedented. They give body and soul to both care and research.

Ms. Desmarais is proud to support their efforts by contributing any way she can. When the time comes to declare victory, she’ll be there.

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