Relive the experiences described in the inspiring stories told by people close to the foundation.

I consider myself an accomplished artist.

I’ve played the harmonica since the age of seven, and I’m not embarrassed to go on stage to give a show. Not embarrassed at all -- but a little nervous all the same.

One day I started to have a sore throat that wouldn’t go away, so I saw a doctor. I underwent throat surgery and then came the diagnosis: there were cancerous tumors on the right side of my throat, and there was no possibility of chemotherapy or surgery. So my doctor suggested I have it treated by laser. That was apparently the only option available to me. There was no other choice.

So in the fall of 2017, I had 33 laser sessions in Montreal. It was very difficult. My neck burned tremendously as a result of the treatments. But I endured it as I had no other options.
During my laser sessions in Montreal, I stayed at the Quebec Cancer Foundation’s lodging centre. It really is a great service. I was treated very well throughout my stay there. And true to my self-image as a troubadour player, I resorted to humour and I tried to be brave for other residents who were also going through the ordeal of cancer.
I was discharged on January 6, 2018, with home follow-up.
I continue to be involved with the Foundation in every way I can, such as collecting donations from everyone I know. The people there saved my life so I want to give back as much as I can. Especially the young cancer patients — they need our help!
I consider myself very lucky. I had the support of a great medical team. Continuing to give to the Foundation is really close to my heart.
I’m also stubborn. I still plan on giving harmonica performances occasionally. When I went on stage in “La Vie en Rose” Lyne and Claude’s café-theatre in Plessiville on Mother's Day, it was packed! People called me "the survivor".
Although I'm still able to play, I keep my chatting to a minimum because it's painful to talk. But you have to see the bright side: I’m completely healed and life goes on!

Fernand Gilbert


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