“Les amis d’Elliot is the story of a boy who comes into the world differently and without knowing it, he will change the quality of life of many families in our region. Elliot’s friends are a big family of volunteers and people with larger than life hearts. These words are those of Pierre Sansoucy, owner of Re/Max Élite in Victoriaville, involved with his spouse Julie Bergeron and their children Emma, Julianna and Ismaï as the honorary family of the Friends of the Foundation campaign. ‘Elliot which ends in November.
Before their mandate ended, an idea germinated in the head of Pierre Sansoucy: the establishment of the Amis à l’infini to ensure that the action of the Fondation les amis d’Elliot never stops. .
The concept is simple, explains Pierre Sansoucy supported in his project by Bruno Fréchette. “This is a solicitation of $1,000 per year for 5 years, so $5,000 in the end. I approach business people, but I tell myself that there are people in society, with such a formula, who could also contribute, who would probably get on board. It’s these people that we also want to find a little more to help the Friends of Elliot Foundation,” he says, because the organization ultimately affects everyone. “The Foundation is not just for slightly different children. In particular, it contributes $1 million to the renovation project of the birth-family center and the pediatric wing of Hôtel-Dieu d’Arthabaska,” he points out.
Pierre Sansoucy has been touched by the cause since his first participation in the benefit dinner some fifteen years ago. “Julie and I arrived in the room and we immediately felt a special energy. It’s magic the activities of Elliot’s friends, everyone wants to be there, everyone feels good, he expresses. More than a hundred volunteers get involved every year. »
When he accepted the honorary presidency, he wanted his wife and children to be fully involved. “They rubbed shoulders with Samy and Elliot who made them think a lot. They raised my children. It is for this reason that it gave us great pleasure to get involved. And by launching Friends to Infinite, it will make a big difference for the Foundation. It has to last, it has to be there for a long time, that’s why we need your help, he says. Be part of Elliot’s family of friends and help children and families. »
When the Sansoucy family accepted the honorary presidency of the campaign, it was in January 2020, about two months before the arrival of the pandemic.
COVID-19 has prevented the traditional dinner from being held for two years. But the people from the Friends of Elliot Foundation have shown creativity and imagination by organizing certain virtual activities, including a Saint-Jean party and the Snacks and bubbles activity. “At the Foundation, we continued to support the families, but there was nothing face-to-face,” says Jérôme Tardif, Elliot and Samy’s dad. But in recent months, we have been able to hold the golf course in June and the poutine evening at the Fromagerie du Presbytère. In addition, the organization of Rock la Cauze will also give us money. »
Back from dinner
As we will remember, it all started for the Fondation les amis d’Elliot with a dinner in 2004. Dieu d’Arthabaska and the L’Envol Stimulation Centre,” recalls Jérôme Tardif.
This year, November 12 is the date to remember. The return of the supper of Elliot’s friends that we bring back to the Hotel Le Victorin, after having held it for several years at the Arthabaska Pavilion. “We come back to the Victorin, because we can accommodate more people, so that more people can participate,” says Pierre Sansoucy.
Each time, dinner is full. But the move to Victorin will increase the number of guests from 235 to around 360. “People are waiting for this dinner, it’s magic, insists Pierre Sansoucy. What happens, there is a special energy. People are all happy to be there, they’re real, they’re in a good mood, they’re all there for the cause and they’re proud to be there for this event full of emotions,” he points out.
“We are really recognized, points out Jérôme Tardif. People from Montreal come to dinner. A neurologist, who followed my sons, came twice to dinner. She couldn’t believe the effect. »
“You have to live it, it’s hard to describe,” adds Pierre Sansoucy.
The child ambassador
The current campaign, which is coming to an end, has been able to count as child ambassador on Isaï Lavigne, a 13-year-old teenager from Princeville, suffering from a chromosome 1 anomaly with Poland syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
A moving video was produced by Rouge Tomate in which members of his family testify, including his mother, friends, workers from La Myriade. “It’s to live one minute, five minutes at a time, an hour at a time, to take the time to accept what is happening to us, what is happening to our child and to say tomorrow it will just be more beautiful” , expresses the mother Marie-Pier Fleury, very grateful to the people around. “When things aren’t going well,” she says, “I think of them, people’s smiles and everyone’s little pats on the shoulder. I feel like saying thank you life, thank you for making me live everything I live there. Isai needs you, please donate. »
A regional movement
“Friends of Elliot is a regional movement, it’s our cause here, our health cause. Everyone makes it their own,” observes Pierre Sansoucy, citing the example of two children, two young girls who raised $1,200 selling lemonade.
Initiatives are emerging everywhere, such as that of the Germaine, these girls who organize a golf tournament.
Another example: this summer, the Foundation paid the $15,000 needed for specialized educators to accompany a dozen different children to Le boisé day camp. To pay it forward, they organized an activity and donated $2,000 to Elliot’s friends.
It even happens that companies from outside, from Montreal in particular, contribute even if 100% of the money raised is distributed to organizations and families in the MRCs of Arthabaska and L’Érable.
The Friends of Elliot Foundation operates through volunteerism. No one works there for pay.
In addition to a board of directors, two committees have been formed, one for the respite of families and the other for the adaptation of residences and vehicles. These committees allow rapid action. “The committees communicate with each other, if there is a request, we respond within 24 hours,” says Jérôme Tardif, recalling that the Foundation annually pays between $150,000 and $200,000 in support of organizations and direct support to families.
This excludes major projects, such as the modernization of pediatrics and the birth-family center which should get under way shortly. “We want it to be wow! As we did in 2015 with the pediatric clinic. We don’t want white walls, says Jérôme Tardif. We want to ensure that the child’s experience in the hospital is not negative. »
“Such a project affects everyone, at some point, everyone will use the birth-family center. It’s our world and we are a big family in the region. People respond to fundraising activities and are very generous,” argues Pierre Sansoucy.
To participate in the dinner at a cost of $245 per person, to give to Amis à l’infini or families who wish to send a request for assistance, simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org.