It is with a heart full of sadness that we wish to pay tribute to Marie-Claude Belzile, beneficiary of our complementary therapies, who passed away this winter. 

A tribute may move us to tears, but it can also help to calm us. It leads us to understand that dealing with loss does not mean forgetting the person who has left us, but keeping alive the memory of what she brought us.

Dear Marie-Claude,

On Sunday, December 20, 2020, you, who had conquered our hearts and enlightened our lives, left us far too soon. You were only 33. It is therefore with great emotion that I wish to pay tribute to you in the name of everyone who had the privilege of knowing you through the Quebec Cancer Foundation’s art therapy group for young adults.
I had the deep pleasure of meeting you for the first time as part of the pilot project that the Foundation and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts permitted me to offer to young people with cancer. The group met for eight weeks of creation and sharing in a stimulating, comforting environment. You were nourished by the works in the museum and put your heart into your own creations. You then continued to attend the Quebec Cancer Foundation workshop as long as your health still permitted, until the fall of 2020. It was very difficult for us to witness your decline, as you had become such a precious friend.
For every one of us, you were unique: a wonderful poet and artist, a committed activist and a young woman with a big heart – and those are just a few of your many qualities.
You touched us with your book Penser le sein féministe, in which you stressed the importance of allowing women to make a free, informed choice about whether or not to undergo reconstruction following a mastectomy. More than three years ago, you launched the Facebook page Tout aussi femme to support women on this issue, a mission that you upheld until last November. That initiative sowed seeds among many, as you once said so well, and you showed an entire community how to feel proud of its choices. You were a collaborator, author and member of the magazine L'Esprit Libre; what you wrote was a source of inspiration to so many people! So many accomplishments in such a short life!
On August 18, 2018, you experienced the immense happiness of marrying Marcella, the woman of your life. Together, you confronted the onslaught of cancer and scaled the heights of courage, determined  to live every minute to its fullest. Last November, you made one last trip to the land of the buffalo to add unforgettable moments to your store of memories. Marie-Claude, your contemplative soul exuded the quiet strength of the buffalo. In art therapy, you made us smile, laugh and reflect in during meetings and in conversation. Your expression, "Clearly" still resounds within us.
Your departure leaves a huge void in all of us and in your friends, but it also leaves an immeasurable legacy. That is what will permit us to keep you very much alive within us. You will always be our irreplaceable Marie-Claude of the thousand talents and the heart of gold.
Lucie Sarrasin, your art therapist and your many art therapy friends:
Catherine P., Caroline C., Judith L., Catherine R.-L., Julie A., Evelyne M.-U., Suzanne C., Stéphanie C., Émilie P., Mylène O., Geneviève M., Marie-Josée C., Geneviève R., Christelle A., Mélissa H.-B. and Julia P.

The entire team of the Quebec Cancer Foundation offers its sincerest condolences to her little Antoine and to all her family and loved ones.

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