Every once in a while, you’ll find an article about someone who has made a difference for MEMO-Qc and the cause of SCI in Quebec. Whether in the shade or in the spotlight, these outstanding individuals have helped improve the lives of people with disabilities.
For our first portrait, it seemed natural to choose Gaston L’Heureux. An important figure for our organization and for people with disabilities in general, he unfortunately passed away earlier this year. Happy reading.
Gaston L’Heureux, a man of heart
It is with great sadness that MEMO-Qc has learned of the death of Gaston L’Heureux on Sunday, January 9, 2011. He was a member of our organization as a collaborator and spokesperson who was on board until very recently. A well-known public figure, there is no doubt that he has greatly helped our organization and the cause of people with disabilities, particularly spinal cord injuries, in the eyes of the public.
A media career
Born in 1943 in Quebec, Gaston L’Heureux was a journalist from an early age. His first job was at The Soleil newspaper at the age of 19. Subsequently, he began a successful career as a television host, working on several shows including Coqueluches (Radio-Canada, 1974-1978), Avis de Recherche (Radio-Canada, 1982-1985) and Vins et fromages (TVA, 1993-1996). His outgoing personality, upbeat tone and good living had made him a favorite of the Quebec public.
A man committed
During the ice storm of 1998, Gaston initiated the Tour of comfort, which raised $ 2.5 million for local food banks that assisted disaster victims. As chairman of the Fondation des artistes, a spokesman for Diabetes Quebec and the Mira Foundation, Gaston L’Heureux was always fighting for causes close to his heart.
He was also a longtime supporter of our organization. Even before he became SCI, he sponsored various fundraising activities in the 90s. After his car accident that left him a tetraplegic in 2007, he joined the board of directors of the organization, but had recently quit his post for health reasons. He had also been a spokesman for several of MEMO-Qc’s activities, including our annual fundraising show and Rick Hansen’s Wheels in Motion event. He also collaborated with several other partners, such as the Lucie-Bruneau Readaptation Centre and Kéroul.
Over the past three years, Mr. L’Heureux has helped raise awareness about the causes of disabled people and particularly the condition of people with spinal cord injuries. Optimistically, he saw his life in a wheelchair with a peaceful philosophy. « My life isn’t over, I took a detour. Life goes on », he told the show Libre comme l’air on channel 1 of Radio-Canada, in June 2009. Everyone who knew him will remember his kindness, his sensitivity and his constant good humor. « He was a great man and a valuable partner for the organization. Despite a busy schedule and the fact that he had to get used to his new condition, Gaston did not hesitate to espouse our cause and even to join the board to help make a difference . He has always been available to us when possible. I will remember him as a man committed and very pleasant company. He will be missed. « , said Alexandre Poce, director of corporate finance for MEMO-Qc.
« Quebec has lost a person of great human sensibility, our organization has lost a committed member, and we have all lost a good friend, » added the CEO of MEMO-Qc, Walter Zelaya.
MEMO-Qc wishes to offer its sincere condolences to the relatives of Gaston L’Heureux. May his memory inspire us to advance our cause more than ever. Farewell Gaston!
For more information
Salducci Peter wrote a book about the career of Gaston L’Heureux in the late 90s (Gaston L’Heureux malgré lui, 30 ans de télévision au Québec, Editions Stanke, 1999, p. 200). « He’s a wonderful, very open person, friendly, and interested in everything, » Mr. Salducci abounds.