The MUHC Foundation's Health Matters

A harrowing fight with cancer and COVID-19

November 13, 2022 The McGill University Health Centre Foundation Season 3 Episode 5
The MUHC Foundation's Health Matters
A harrowing fight with cancer and COVID-19
Show Notes Transcript

This week on Health Matters, Tarah Schwartz discusses the progress of the DOvEE Project with Dr. Lucy Gilbert and its support from the John Rennie Glee Club. After a fight with cancer and COVID-19, Jon Fielding shares how his harrowing health care journey motivated him to share his gratitude for health care workers. Caroline White describes a program designed to help health care workers be the best they can be. And, Chris Shannon from Lower Canada College shares the heartfelt reason the school's jazz band wanted to perform in MUHC’s Got Talent.

Cette semaine, Tarah Schwartz discute avec la Dre Lucy Gilbert des progrès du projet DOvEE et de l’appui que le projet reçoit du John Rennie Glee Club. Après un dur combat contre le cancer et la COVID-19, Jon Fielding raconte comment son éprouvant parcours de soins l’a motivé à exprimer sa gratitude envers les travailleurs et travailleuses de la santé. Caroline White présente un programme conçu pour aider les professionnels de la santé à être au sommet de leurs compétences. Et Chris Shannon, du Lower Canada College, révèle la touchante raison pour laquelle le groupe de jazz de l’école souhaitait participer à l’événement Le CUSM a du talent.

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Tarah Schwartz:

Hello there. Thank you for joining us. I'm Tarah Schwartz and this is Health Matters on CJAD 800. On today's show, MUHC's Got Talent takes place Wednesday night- just three days away. This special event is an opportunity for health care workers to showcase their other talents, all while fundraising for different projects and programs close to their hearts at the MUHC. Later in the show, we'll speak with the head of Lower Canada College on why their school's jazz band decided to participate. And they're not alone. There are three groups facing off in MUHC's Got Talent, each one raising money for a specific cause. The John Rennie High School Glee Club is one of them. This group is fundraising for the DOvEE project led by Dr. Lucy Gilbert and an incredible team who are dedicated to stopping the threat of ovarian and endometrial cancers before it's too late. Dr. Gilbert created an early detection test that is in the final stages of a clinical trial, which means in the next several years, it could end up as part of a woman's routine checkup and save countless lives. Dr. Gilbert is the head of gynecologic oncology at the MUHC and she joins me now. Hello, Dr. Gilbert.

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

Hello, Tarah.

Tarah Schwartz:

So happy to speak with you. Always happy to talk with you remind our listeners Dr. Gilbert, about the DOvEEgene test and why it is so revolutionary.

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

Ovarian and endometrial cancer accounts for the fourth highest cause of cancer death in women. It's unusual in that while we have managed to get most other cancer death rates down. We haven't made a dent on these cancers simply because it's detected very late. So if you detect a cancer, while it's confined to the organ it started in; we can remove it and cure people. Ovarian cancer presents to us in stage three and four 80% of the time. By the time it will be diagnose the cancer, it's spread out all over the abdomen, and then you cannot cure people. So we have been working on this from 2013. We invented a genomic Pap test that will detect it very early so that we can cure women. Science is a very slow process. And we've been at it and we are in the final stages now. And our hope as you said, Tarah, the key is to make sure it's available to all women and that's what we're working on.

Tarah Schwartz:

Now as you mentioned, you're in this final phase of the clinical trial. What does that mean? Because I think that might scare people. What is the concept of a clinical trial? What is that?

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

The concept of a clinical trial is we invented this test. We have run it in the lab. We have used it on women who have been already diagnosed with ovarian cancer and tested it on people who haven't had cancer, but who have had a hysterectomy so that we know the difference between somebody who has cancer and doesn't have cancer. But before it can be available to everybody, it should be done without any bias. So people in the general public should have this test. And we should be able to detect the cancer in the general public. That is what we are doing now. So women with no symptoms at all, come along. Women between the age of 45 and 75. And we offer this test and we follow them up and make sure that we're picking up almost all the cancers that we can. That's a very tedious and a process that we must do extremely carefully. That's taking time. But we expect to finish it by mid-summer next year. And then submit all the documents to the government so that we can get approval for this test.

Tarah Schwartz:

And it's so important and I'm happy to say that I have taken part in Dr. Gilbert's clinical trial. So have every single one of my friends and family who fit within that criteria. And it is truly a privilege to be a part of your work, Dr. Gilbert because I really believe in my heart that you are changing the face of health care for women. I truly believe that so if you want to take part in the clinical trial, you can head to MUHCFoundation.com. Find DOvEE and you can get the number to be part of this trial. Now Dr. Gilbert, how hopeful are you that we'll see change in the next few years?

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

Tarah, in medicine we have to be very, very cautious. But I can tell you with my hand on my heart about this test because the results are good. So many people have come together to help us scientists, engineers, molecular geneticists, computational scientists, and the public and donors. So I'm extremely grateful to everybody. And I can tell you that this test will be out there in the public in a few years.

Tarah Schwartz:

Saving countless lives. We're speaking with Dr. Lucy Gilbert, head of a gynecologic oncology at the MUHC. We're talking about her DOvEE test. But we're also talking about the John Rennie High School glee club that Dr. Gilbert they decided to get together and to perform at MUHC's Got Talent, and they decided to support you. How does that feel?

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

It feels wonderful. It feels wonderful because they're young, and they're so joyous, and they're so vibrant and enthusiastic. And it's so wonderful to have younger people involved in making life better for older women. So I cannot tell you how proud I am of this group and how grateful I am. They've let me off the hook because I can't sing or dance to save my life so that these young people have come along is such a relief.

Tarah Schwartz:

Oh, that's so wonderful and I've seen them perform. Will you be there on November 16?

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

Yes, Oh my God, I wouldn't miss it for anything in the world. I'm so looking forward to it.

Tarah Schwartz:

I have to say they're doing very well on the fundraising front, aren't they? They seem to have the power of your wings behind them. Dr. Gilbert.

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

I think it's so wonderful they doing it and I'm not surprised that they're doing so well.

Tarah Schwartz:

I'm so glad

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

I'm proud of them.

Tarah Schwartz:

I know that you've spoken to the media, that you've talked about how excited you are for them. But it must be as you mentioned, wonderful to see these young women stepping up understanding that by the time they become young women and older women that this test is going to be there. I love sort of that connection.

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

That is it. So they're doing it for their moms, aunts, older friends, grandmothers now, but it's for them when they are a bit older.

Tarah Schwartz:

I love that. No if you would like to support the John Rennie High School Glee Club who was raising money for Dr. Gilbert's DOvEE Project, you can vote for them. It's $1 for one vote. You can also join us join Dr. Gilbert join the John Rennie High School Glee Club on November 16, at the Montreal Corona theatre. Just head to MUHCFoundation.com You can buy the tickets and you can vote. What do you most looking forward to about that night Dr. Gilbert?

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

Young people give you a boost. So I am very, very much looking forward to the actual performance. And I'm looking forward to seeing everybody who's come together to help these various causes.

Tarah Schwartz:

Yeah, it's going be a wonderful evening. And it's the first of its kind. So we're really excited. And we do hope those of you listening if want to come by please do. It would be wonderful to have a great sold-out crowd for all of these performers. Dr. Lucy Gilbert, I want to thank you so much for joining us on Health Matters. It's always such a pleasure to speak with you.

Dr. Lucy Gilbert:

Thank you so very much and take care. Okay, bye. Bye.

Tarah Schwartz:

You too. Dr. Gilbert. Bye bye. And again, if you'd like to support John Rennie Glee Club at MUHC's Got Talent. There's lots of performers. Head to MUHCFoundation.com. Maybe there's one that's going to jump out for you $1 one vote significant prizes that go to the winners, which means more money to these great causes. And if you want to join us the night of- 10 performances. Tickets are $25, they all go to charity. Next up on the show, one man's harrowing health care experience made him very grateful for the MUHC's health care team. I'm Tarah Schwartz. Welcome back to Health Matters on CJAD 800. This story is about the relationship that is built between health care professionals and their patients. Jon Fielding is a patient that was dealing with cancer but also COVID. He and his wife, Kathy Kennedy are dedicated philanthropists. Jon joins me now to share his story. Thanks so much for being here, Jon.

Jon Fielding:

Thank you for having me today.

Tarah Schwartz:

So tell us about your cancer journey. When did you first suspect that something was wrong with your health?

Jon Fielding:

In 2019, at the end of August-early September, I noticed I had a few lumps in my neck. So I started the process of just going to see my family doctor. And then from there testing. And by the end of 2019, we discovered I had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Tarah Schwartz:

Wow, that must have been a real shock.

Jon Fielding:

Yes, it was. I was 57 at the time. Yeah, a real shock. No one wants to hear that. But, I had great support from the team of doctors that were looking into my issues.

Tarah Schwartz:

Now, what was it like to go through the cancer treatments? I know it's different for everyone. How did you manage it?

Jon Fielding:

I had a lot of support from family and friends and also from the team at Cedar's Cancer Centre. I started my cancer treatments in 2020, end of January. And it was six months of chemo treatments. I reacted very well to the chemo. I was one of the lucky ones with no major side effects.

Tarah Schwartz:

Now, I know that you also caught COVID. And you are cared for by many of the doctors and health care workers at the Montreal Chest Institute. How did you deal with cancer treatments and COVID?

Jon Fielding:

When I caught COVID in 2021, I was still receiving chemo treatments. So my immune system was at zero when I got COVID. It hit me very hard.

Tarah Schwartz:

Oh no, tell us a little bit about your experience.

Jon Fielding:

So when I first caught it, after about a week at home, major coughing and couldn't breathe, I ended up going to emergency. From there, I was in the hospital for eight months. I had a tremendous amount of doctors and staff trying to figure out how to treat what I had. I had very, very inflamed lungs and due to that I have a lot of fibrosis right now.

Tarah Schwartz:

Wow, that's an incredible story. I'm a bit speechless. John, eight months in the hospital. How was that on you and your family?

Jon Fielding:

It was very difficult. During my eight month stay in the hospital. I was on a very heavy prednisone. I couldn't move in bed. I'd lost over 55 pounds. My breathing was very, very poor. But, I got through it. I was in ICU for five and a half weeks. I can't say enough about the staff that looked after me and kept me up to speed on what they were doing every week to try to fight this infection that I had in my lungs.

Tarah Schwartz:

We're speaking with Jon Fielding and we're talking about his fight against cancer and his fight against COVID. Now you attended the Raymond James softball tournament this past summer now the funds raised go to support the MCI which is where part of your treatment was done the Montreal Chest Institute, so many of the doctors there were so thrilled to see you doing so well. Tell us about some of those moments of being reunited with the health care workers that helped you.

Jon Fielding:

Oh my god, I can't say enough. It brings tears to my eyes, the amount of doctors that actually treated me over the eight months. I do run into many doctors periodically, when I want to go back to the hospital for many, many follow-ups. But at the softball tournament, it was just amazing. You know, the doctors are just so happy to see how I progress and how far I've come from being in a wheelchair to now walking. I do have portable oxygen. But every week it gets a little bit better. But just the look in their eyes, seeing that they did something really good. And that I'm one of the lucky ones. One of the survivors is amazing. I can't say enough.

Tarah Schwartz:

What do you think it gives them, Jon... they had such a difficult time through COVID. They saw so many patients, they lost so many patients. What do you think it was like for them to sort of see you there?

Jon Fielding:

It brought a smile to their faces knowing that what they were doing and what they learned from many, many patients that I was one of the lucky ones. That I did survive and it was because of their hard work and dedication and just their great support. Every morning coming into my room, they would have a smile on their face and talk to me. And after about five months, I made that turn and they started talking rehab. It was just great. And for them to see the end result of their hard work just amazing.

Tarah Schwartz:

It certainly sounds that you've gone through a really difficult health care ordeal, Jon. Has it changed you at all? Changed how you see your life, the world, your loved ones?

Jon Fielding:

Definitely, family and friends -that's all that's really important. There's so many things that don't matter. We take so much for granted and when you lose a lot of your every day, what you do every day. It puts a new perspective on, let's just keep it simple. Smile everyday. I think that's what got me through it. Stay as positive as you can, your glass is always half-full, not half-empty.

Tarah Schwartz:

Where you like that before, Jon? Or did you change because of what happened to?

Jon Fielding:

I've always been a pretty positive person. There's always a solution to a problem. And that's what got me through it. Just staying positive on my worst days. And I tell you I had some really worst days. But just stay positive. That's what got me through everything.

Tarah Schwartz:

And when you see what's going on in the world now that we might be going back into... Well, I guess we've never left it really but the evolution of this virus and how it's changing and mutating and impacting our lives. How do you feel as someone who has survived it and who had a really rough time, as you mentioned?

Jon Fielding:

I'm just a little more cautious right now because of my situation. Right now, I'm only operating on 43% lung capacity. But my doctors believe that I haven't plateaued yet. I'm hoping to get over the 50, hopefully close to 60% lung capacity. But it's definitely this virus is around. Please people, just wear a mask and wash your hands. That's all I can say. It's your future for the long term, I think.

Tarah Schwartz:

Yeah, when I hear your story, Jon. People seem to think sometimes- okay, I'm wearing a mask because I want to protect myself. But when I hear stories like yours, I realize wearing a mask can help to protect somebody like you. Do you see it that way?

Jon Fielding:

It's really, you know, it's to protect yourself. I wear my mask to protect myself. Wear a mask to protect yourself. And yes, think of the other person. Think of somebody who's sick, think of your grandparents, think of your parents, because it's a scary, it's a scary ride when you when you do fall ill.

Tarah Schwartz:

No kidding. Now, Jon, I know that you have chosen to give back, I mentioned that you and your wife are both philanthropists. Does it mean something different to you now that you've seen a little bit better where your donation goes, like to the Montreal Chest Institute, the doctors you mentioned?

Jon Fielding:

Yes. It's just amazing. There is a lack of funds out there and it's such a great joy to see that how many people do donate, and every dollar, it does go to a great cause. And, that's why I'm here today. You know, just with the R&D research and development on these new viruses and diseases that are out there. We couldn't do without it.

Tarah Schwartz:

No, absolutely true. Were you always into philanthropy? Was that always something that you and your family have been a part of? Where did it come from?

Jon Fielding:

My wife, 12 years ago was diagnosed with breast cancer. And she's okay, today. She had a double mastectomy. And since then, she's actually involved with a charity, thepink.ca softball tournament that raises funds for breast cancer. It's been five years they've been doing it. It's just amazing. So I'm involved with that. And it just puts a smile on my face.

Tarah Schwartz:

Yeah, I played in that tournament this past summer. And it's incredible to feel part of something. And I know that you and your wife are giving back on many fronts. So thank you for that. I'm so happy that you are feeling better. And I wish you that past 50 capacity with your lungs in the near future, Jon.

Jon Fielding:

Thank you so much. Like I said, I'm one of the lucky ones in my bad luck. I'm so fortunate that I did have the team of doctors that looked after me, and I can't say enough.

Tarah Schwartz:

Well, I think you've said it all there. Jon. I think we all feel your gratitude. We're speaking with Jon Fielding. He fought cancer, he fought COVID and he has done quite a bit to give back. Jon Fielding, thank you so much for joining us on Health Matters.

Jon Fielding:

Thank you so much for having me today. Take care and stay safe.

Tarah Schwartz:

You too. Coming up, a significant donation to help health care workers continue their education. I'm Tarah Schwartz and this is Health Matters. Our health care professionals go through many years of training to work at the MUHC. But did you know that their education continues throughout their medical careers? This is where the Skills and Simulation Center at the MUHC comes into play. This Centre offers training for health care workers to continue their education and to learn to work together as a team. Caroline White is a simulation specialist advisor and Interim Associate Director of Education at the MUHC. She joins me now. Hello, Caroline.

Caroline White:

Good morning, Tarah. How are you?

Tarah Schwartz:

I'm well thank you. I find the Skills and Simulation Centre so fascinating. Give our listeners a refresher on what this center does and how it helps.

Caroline White:

The Simulation Center helps us support our employees as well as our learners at the MUHC to maintain their skills, to work together in interprofessional teams so that they can better provide care to the patients on their units, in their areas. We also provide skill training. So for anyone who needs to practice particular techniques and skills, we have simulators on which they can practice and develop any required skill they need.

Tarah Schwartz:

Give us an example of something that a healthcare worker would be practicing. Just so it makes us easier for us to visualize it.

Caroline White:

Some of the things that they may do if they are coming as an individual, or in a small group of learners, they may be wanting to work on skills. So they may want to practice on a task trainer or a mannequin; inserting an IV. It could be taking care of a chest tube, so a tube that goes in to drain fluid from around the lung. They may be wanting to train on Foley catheterization. So there's different types of techniques that they may want to work on. Other types of training they may do is directly related to a patient case. So there are times, most of the time I would say; we have groups of interprofessional health care professionals coming together to work with a mannequin that has been diagnosed with a particular illness or condition. And they need to provide care to that mannequin as they would if it was a real person. The advantages of this is that they're practicing their skills, they are communicating, working on their teamwork and interaction. So that when they get to the bedside, they're very efficient.

Tarah Schwartz:

Now, Caroline, you have to give us a little bit on the mannequins because they are so interesting. They moan, they cry... tell our listeners about these fascinating mannequins, because it's really something to see and experience.

Caroline White:

We have all different types of mannequins. We have mannequins of different skin tone, because as you know, Montreal is a very multicultural city. So we want to make sure that our health care professionals are training on mannequins that actually represent the public that they're going to be taking care of. The mannequins do come to life. So they're electronic. We are able to turn them on. They will open their eyes. They will blink. They will speak, cough, moan, as you mentioned. They have heart, lung and abdominal sounds. They have pulses all over their bodies. So when the health care professional is working with the mannequin, they can essentially interact with the mannequin, as though it's a real person.

Tarah Schwartz:

It's honestly incredible, and I thought you described it really well. Now, RBC will be making a significant donation to support skills and simulation this coming week. What is a donation like this, $2 million? What does a donation like that mean to you and the Skills and Simulation Center?

Caroline White:

This donation by the Royal Bank of Canada is incredibly generous. This funding is actually going to go towards helping us to train young health professionals that are coming into the health care setting. So that they can not only perfect their skills as a new health care professional; they can learn to work better in interprofessional teams. This will also help towards mental health issues, in terms of better preparing people to handle the crises that they will encounter when they're in the hospital. And we're hoping that this is going to result in retention of all these new employees.

Tarah Schwartz:

That is a good point. We're speaking with Caroline White; we're talking about how health care workers continue learning while on the job. And because of a donation from RBC, it's going to make that a little bit easier. Now, Caroline, in light of the challenges of hospital staff shortages everywhere. More and more younger health care professionals are entering the hospital. Talk to us about why this kind of training, perhaps is more important than ever. Do you see it that way?

Caroline White:

Right now, absolutely. It is much more essential than ever. I think that we invest into young professionals. The health care landscape has changed enormously in the last several years, particularly with the addition of COVID-19. We're seeing that health care workers are tired; they've gone through a lot since 2020. We have people that are choosing to take early retirement. That also means that we have less health care workers in the institutions that are there to provide care. So we need to be able to replace with more nurses, with more respiratory therapists, more residents, more doctors. So it means a great deal for us to be able to have this funding to provide training. Mental health issues are something that we take very much to heart. Our professionals have gone through a lot over the last few years. We want to make sure that we're supporting them. But we're also protecting the young professionals that are coming into our institution.

Tarah Schwartz:

How exciting is it for you to see these teams of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals working on Skills and Simulation working together? What is it like to witness that?

Caroline White:

It's absolutely incredible to see the teamwork, the interaction, the curiosity. They're working around this patient. They are stressed absolutely, because they've been put in a situation with a mannequin that is responding to them. And they're having to take care of that patient. So when you see these young professionals that are diligently working around that patient, that they're communicating with each other. They are performing tasks and procedures. Oftentimes, they're practicing lifesaving procedures on the mannequin, to ensure their skills. It's really heartwarming to see this active live engagement because they're going to bring that back to the unit. They're going to bring that back to the patients that they care for. And it's going to translate into better care that's received by the patients.

Tarah Schwartz:

That's really well said. So I give you your final words here. Caroline, what is the message that you have for listeners about the importance of valuing and understanding that when you become a health care professional, you have to keep learning for yourselves and for your patients?

Caroline White:

I think what we'd like people to know is that if you choose health care, you have chosen continuing education for life. It doesn't end when you graduate or you receive your diploma. This is something that we have to work on every single day because health care changes every single day; whether it's technology, whether it is patients coming with multiple complex illnesses and they require extensive treatment. Health care has changed a lot in the last few years and we're asking a lot more of our health care professionals. We're asking a lot more of our young health care professionals. So if we are not doing our part to support them coming into the health care system- mentally, physically; then we're not taking care of our patients. So simulation in health care is really patient-based. Everything we do is directed at how is our patient going to be taken care of and how can we prepare our people to ensure patients receive the best possible care for life.

Tarah Schwartz:

Exactly what we want for all of us and our loved ones. Thank you so much, Caroline White, we appreciate your time today.

Caroline White:

Thank you so much, Tarah.

Tarah Schwartz:

Coming up on Health Matters, LCC students are playing at MUHC's Got Talent for prostate cancer. We speak with a teacher who is a survivor and an inspiration. I'm Tarah Schwartz. You're listening to Health Matters. Another school is taking part in MUHC's Got Talent and that is Lower Canada College. The jazz band from LCC is fundraising for Dr. Simon Tanguay in support of the Department of Urology. Their performance was inspired you could say by my next guest, who is a prostate cancer survivor. Christopher Shannon is the head of Lower Canada, Canada College thanks so much for Being here, Chris.

Chris Shannon:

It's a pleasure, Tarah.

Tarah Schwartz:

So let's begin by you telling us a little bit about the LCC jazz band.

Chris Shannon:

We have dozens of students involved in a co-curricular music program. And in fact, our senior jazz band is our largest team in our school. We have 90-plus students in that band. But the jazz band is separate and it's a group of 21 students. So they come on their free time, whether that's before school, during some of our co-curricular time, lunch hour, after school sometimes, and practice as a distinct entity, specifically jazz.

Tarah Schwartz:

Are all 21 of these young students going to be playing in MUHC's got talent or just a group of them.

Chris Shannon:

All of them are going to be performing in the evening and they're excited about it because I think any young musician who actually has skill; they want an opportunity to perform in front of an audience. So it's going to be sort of fun for them I think.

Tarah Schwartz:

Especially at Montreal's Corona theater. That's quite a stage for a young jazz band from LCC!

Chris Shannon:

For sure. And so kids are quite used to doing practicing and performing in their school or in their venue. So anytime they go out and perform outside of the school or somewhere else in the community or even abroad. We have students who are going to be doing that later this winter. It's very exciting for them. It gives them a real context of performance.

Tarah Schwartz:

Now why did the band choose to fundraise for Dr. Simon Tanguay and Urology? So LCC is fundraising for Dr. Simon Tanguay in MUHC's Got Talent. Why was that decision made, Christopher?

Chris Shannon:

Well, the MUHC have a number of health professionals who have specifically a kind of performance related talent. That turns out that Dr. Tanguay is not a performer and there isn't anybody in that particular department who felt they could step forward. But some people who are most appreciative of Dr. Tanguay, the urology department, its impact on a number of patients felt that if we could raise money for this department, that would be wonderful. And I, as a survivor of prostate cancer, was quite happy to be involved in the experience. And our students certainly were looking for the performance opportunity as well. So a lot of things have come together at the same time.

Tarah Schwartz:

My guest is Christopher Shannon from Lower Canada College, the jazz band is performing an MUHC's Got Talent, which takes place November 16, at Montreal's Corona theater. Chris, you mentioned that your challenge that you were diagnosed with prostate cancer, was an inspiration for why they decided to raise money for Dr. Simon Tanguay. Do you talk to the students about your experience? Like how did that come up?

Chris Shannon:

Well, just to clarify, we're not a boys' school, we're a co-ed school and current school. Our group of performers are boys and girls. That piece didn't come up initially at all. It really came up as an opportunity for young musicians to perform and the request went to their music director, their teacher, about whether or not they were looking for a performance opportunity. I went in after the fact, because I wanted to explain to the students that they're not performing and raising money for me because they've actually been raising money for a host of cancer causes in the city this fall. Very busy on that front, Terry Fox, Girls for the Cure, and others. So it's really a focus on the cause. They understand because they were around- most of them- when I was absent for a short time from school. But I'm not twisting any arms for students to have to go and raise money on my behalf. But the cause is understood and appreciated. And the students have been very supportive.

Tarah Schwartz:

I want to dig a bit deeper into that, because I think that people connect to things when they have an example of it. So I feel like the fact that you went through prostate cancer, it must be impacting how they're feeling about taking on this challenge. Do you think it is?

Chris Shannon:

In some ways, it is. I really don't feel like I want to push kids on that front of it. I think that they're very excited that the cause is a good cause. They know it is. We have very socially engaged students who want to support health matters. And this fall in our school, it's been demonstrative that. I think we had the largest number of girls probably involved voluntarily at the March for the Cure. So our students are very socially aware and they would like to help they would like to exhibit acts of service wherever they can. It's actually the motto of our school, non nobis solum- not for ourselves alone. We live this on a day-to-day basis. Service is a key part of our program. So it's very normal for our students to think if I can help in some way, where can I do it? I have a talent, and that's going to be helpful in an event like this. It's a performance opportunity. But also, it's a chance to be part of a community initiative that's worthwhile.

Tarah Schwartz:

Absolutely. What is it like for you, Christopher? To see these teenagers, this group of teenagers come together like this? I mean, I do feel that you must be inspiring them. But do you feel inspired by what they're doing, not just for this cause, but for all the causes they seem to be taking on?

Chris Shannon:

For sure. I'm inspired by what young people are doing all over the place. And it's interesting, because we're all coming out of COVID together. I know that a lot of people in their workplace. Maybe they've returned to the workplace, or maybe they're still working remotely, and working from home. We have been at school consistently for the past two years. We've always been at school. And so I have been inspired from the moment August two years ago. We returned to school in COVID with no vaccines and teachers came and said, we need to be back in school, when most of their peers were at home and working. And they did that because they felt it was the right thing for students. So I watched students do a lot of things which are very inspiring day-in and day-out. Little ones from kindergarten right through to our students in our grade 12 program, who are going off to university next year. They're good people, we focus a lot on developing good citizens, elements of character. It's not just about the marks in the classroom. And I see that in spades every day.

Tarah Schwartz:

I love hearing you talk like that about teenagers, because I think teenagers can be a bit of a mystery to a lot of people. And I think the way you describe them, and especially the young people are going to your school; it's really remarkable. I really enjoy hearing you talk like that and it provides hope. I think if the young people are like this right now, they're the ones who are going to be running the world. So it's nice to hear you talk about them like that.

Chris Shannon:

Well, there's a lot of there's a lot of reasons to be impressed by young people. But I think the quality of teachers who are with them, beside them, and in front of them matters. And ultimately, I think adolescents if they believe in the adults who are working with them, that they can trust them and they believe that they're going to help them move forward. The magic can happen. That's really at the core of education. And that's what we focus on all the time.

Tarah Schwartz:

Yeah, teachers are heroes, period, they're heroes. My guest is Christopher Shannon from Lower Canada College their jazz band is performing at MUHC's Got Talent. If you'd like to come, you're more than welcome. It takes place on November 16 at Montreal's Corona theater. You can just head to MUHCFoundation.com for tickets. Or if you would like to support the Lower Canada College jazz band, you can do that by voting for them. So what can people expect from their performance on November 16? Have you had a sneak peek, Christopher? Have you seen what they're going to be playing?

Chris Shannon:

I saw them practicing just the other day. But I didn't stay around for the pieces they're performing. But I do see them perform on an ongoing basis. In other venues, I can just tell you that these are young, engaged musicians. They give up their time, because they love music. They have teachers who motivate them enormously. So I can tell you that they'll be into it. And they'll also enjoy any other talent that's around them. And I think they'll enjoy the event for the reasons that anybody should want to go to such an event. There will be a lot of talent, and they'll celebrate it together with the people who are not members of our school.

Tarah Schwartz:

Will you be there on November 16, Christopher?

Chris Shannon:

Absolutely.

Tarah Schwartz:

What will you be most looking forward to that night of?

Chris Shannon:

Well, I don't know, I don't know what any of the other talent is. So the diversity of talent and the presentations are always fun to see. So I think that I'm sure Dr. Tanguay will be thrilled to see these young people who are who are out there raising for his department and in his name. But I look forward to also seeing our students but also to see who else is on the bill. And what they're performing. I'm sure it'll be fun.

Tarah Schwartz:

It will be absolutely Christopher Shannon, thank you so much for joining us on Health Matters.

Chris Shannon:

My pleasure.

Tarah Schwartz:

And if you would like to support LCC, or any of the performers who are performing at MUHC's Got Talent. $1 is one vote and there are two big grand prizes. You can also join us at the big event to vote or to buy tickets, head to MUHCFoundation.com. I'm Tarah Schwartz. Thank you for tuning in. What would you like to hear about on the show? Write to us at health matters at MUHCFoundation.com. You can also follow the MUHC Foundation on social media or sign up for our newsletter at MUHCFoundation.com. I hope you'll join me again next Sunday. Thanks so much for listening to Health Matters and stay healthy.