2021 USW Cares, District 5 Jefferson Award Winner, Denis Grenier

Denis Grenier of Local 9996 has been selected as District 5’s 2021 USW Cares Jefferson Award recipient for founding the non-profit Cancer Fermont, which has donated more than $800,000 directly to people with cancer (or in remission) and their loved ones.

Grenier works as a janitor in Fermont, Canada, a town in northeastern Quebec. In 2006, when a friend of his struggled financially after being diagnosed with Cancer and undergoing treatment, Grenier began fundraising. Through his fundraising Grenier witnessed not just his friend, but other cancer patients struggle from the lack of assistance in their region so he expanded his fundraising project and Cancer Fermont was born.

Cancer Fermont fundraises with community events like country music nights; the first Country Music Benefit Night raised $4,000. Grenier then reached out to companies for donations and ended up getting another $6,000 in donations from the companies and at the benefit itself.

In recent years, the “Guignolée de Réginald” has been one of Cancer Fermont’s most successful events. Réginald Bouchard was a senior resident of Fermont who wanted to raise funds for Cancer Fermont for his 80th birthday but lost his battle with cancer. Cancer Fermont pays tribute to Bouchard with the "Guignolée de Réginald" event every year during the holiday season. They also host a crab dinner and half marathon annually, but donations for Cancer Fermont are collected year-round, not just on special occasions.

Since its start, Cancer Fermont has given more than $800,000 directly to people with cancer and their loved ones. Cancer Fermont does not raise money for research, but to help people with cancer during and after their treatments by paying for plane tickets (travel for treatments and doctor appointments are not covered by the government), paying for expenses during these trips (taxi, meals, parking), and paying for wigs, massage therapy, and snow removal at patients’ homes (Fermont’s winters are harsh, and people with cancer have no energy).

People with cancer are not able to work and, often, insurance money does not come quickly. The cost of living in Fermont, Canada is very expensive, and despite illness and job-loss, bills still come at the end of the month. Cancer Fermont does everything it can to assist people during and after Cancer treatment with things that most people don’t realize become an issue with a Cancer diagnosis.

If Cancer Fermont succeeds in easing any sort of burden on people with cancer and their loved ones, then they consider it mission-accomplished.

The USW proudly recognizes Denis Grenier, founder and president of Cancer Fermont, with a 2021 USW Cares Jefferson Award for his incredible compassion and fundraising. 

                

Denis Grenier: middle, left, left

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