Something we must do
Sylvie Demers’ sense of duty drives her involvement in her community.
Sylvie Demers, chair of the Quebec market at TD Bank, knows the bank must give back to the communities it serves. Working with the Goodman Cancer Research Centre has been a natural fit; very few families and communities have never been exposed to cancer. “We have a lot of employees and clients who are impacted by this disease in some way,” she said.
Demers is no exception. Her mother died from breast cancer when Demers was a child, and her sister received her diagnosis about a week before Demers accepted the role of honorary chair of the Goodman Gala. “We didn’t expect her to make it to Easter,” Demers remembered. But her sister is a fighter and she continues to receive treatment.
"That's why finding a cure is so important", she said. “Decades ago, the minute you heard the word cancer, it became very difficult to be optimistic.
It's amazing to witness the progress researchers have made and the treatments they’ve developed since then.”
Demers would like to visit the Centre someday to see that progress in person. Researchers, like those at the GCRC, deserve a huge “thank you,” she said. “Sometimes, these researchers are looking for something that they aren’t sure exists,” she noted, “because you don’t know what you don’t know.”
“To me, these researchers change the world. They bring hope to people,” she added.
Cancer’s impact on her life, researchers’ progress over the last ten years and a sense of responsibility all made the Gala’s honorary chair position a no-brainer for Demers – as did her relationship with the Goodman family. This year’s Gala is a tribute to Rosalind Goodman, who gave a transformative gift to the centre in 2008. “As a TD executive, we’ve known the Goodman family for a long time,” Demers said. “We know the good they’ve done in the community.”
That leadership is something Demers also strives for. “I’m very fortunate in life,” she said, “so I don’t consider giving back to the community simply a nice thing to do.
It’s something I must do.”