André B. Charron, a vice-president and portfolio manager who lost his father to Alzheimer's disease (AD) in 2011, has made it his mission to help support research aimed at finding the cause of this disease in any way he can. “How can we expect to cure Alzheimer's or even treat it adequately as long as we don't know what causes it in the first place?" says André. “I find it unacceptable that in this day and age we still know almost nothing about this horrendous disease"
His father's first symptoms appeared sometime in 2002-2003, but he wasn't diagnosed with AD until 2008. As his condition gradually worsened, the family found it harder and harder to take proper care of him at home and had to make the heart wrenching decision to place him in a specialized centre in 2009. His stay there was punctuated by many falls and mishaps which required frequent nightly visits to the ER at various hospitals. It is during one such emergency that André came to discover and appreciate the quality of care provided at the JGH and by its compassionate staff, and it is at the JGH that his father ultimately lived the final month of his life.
When the opportunity presented itself to help out the JGH and get involved in the fight against Alzheimer's disease, André did not hesitate. “I was keen on supporting a research and support program that is well-established and recognized internationally for its excellence," says André. “I was won over by the innovative work done at the Anna & Louis Goldfarb JGH/McGill Memory Clinic and by the quality and scope of the research on Alzheimer's disease carried out by Dr. Howard Chertkow and his team (and in particular, Dr Andrea LeBlanc) at the Bloomfield Centre for Research on Aging of the Lady Davis Institute."
The Charron family also made a generous gift to the Marjorie & Gerald Bronfman Division of Palliative Care, in gratitude for having taken such good care of their beloved father in his final days. Furthermore, André has now taken a leadership role by agreeing to become one the vice-chairs of the JGH Foundation's current $250 million capital campaign. “My father was very generous and supported many worthwhile causes during his life," says André. “Alzheimer's disease may have robbed him of his memories, his personality and his ability to function as a person, but his legacy remains. I am proud to walk in his footsteps and to have the opportunity to perpetuate his memory and life in a meaningful manner through my support of the JGH. He would have wanted that."