Teen turns love of music into gift for oncology unit at Montreal Children’s Hospital

It’s not unusual for Leandre Gaucher, 14, to spend hours practicing the violin.

“Music has like always been my passion,” he told Global News.

So much so that when he was a patient at the Montreal Children’s Hospital being treated for brain cancer four years ago, he continued to practice almost daily, even playing duets with his violin teacher.

“It kind of distracted me from what was happening around me,” Gaucher explained.

According to his mother Anne Schwab, there were even times when he wasn’t just playing for himself.

“A lot of the nurses at the hospital said they used to turn the intercom on and listen when he played,” she laughed.

Now, her son, whose cancer is in remission, wants to continue playing for others.  So he and the family are organizing a fundraising concert.

“I’m going to be playing with some other young musicians and some older musicians,” he pointed out.

They include pianist Chloé Dumoulin as well as his violin teacher and her two sons.

It’s all to benefit Sarah’s floor, a ward at the Children’s where kids and teens are treated for cancer. The purpose of the centre is to make the cancer journey easier for kids because, as Gaucher pointed out, the treatments can be tough.

“For instance (with) chemotherapy,” he said, “you’re sealed up inside. You can’t go out because your immune system is low.”

Sarah Cook, who survived childhood cancer and for whom the ward was named over 20 years ago, said any money Gaucher raises will help fund programmes there.

“Like pet therapy and music therapy … we’ve started programmes like continuing education for nurses,” she said.

Gaucher’s goal is to also raise awareness about childhood cancers.

Canada’s Public Health Agency says in Canada, an average of 880 children under 15 are diagnosed with cancer annually, and 150 die from it.

According to information on its website, “although this makes cancer the second leading cause of death by disease among Canadian children, cancer is still relatively rare in this age group.”

While Gaucher can’t cure cancer, he wants to do what he can for those battling the disease on Sarah’s ward.

The concert will be held Feb. 11, 2023 at the Valois United Church in Pointe-Claire.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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