Raphaël Leclaire, cancer survivor and longtime friend of Cedars launches the Raphaël Leclaire AYA (Adolescent and Young Adult) Fund at Cedars to support and raise money for the psychosocial needs of AYA oncology patients in Montreal. Having fought off cancer twice before the age of sixteen, Raphaël knows what it means to be a fighter and he understands the challenges that younger demographics face when battling this terrible disease. Raphaël aspires to see a world where cancer no longer exists. His youthful enthusiasm, dedication and persistence will hopefully one day make his dream a reality.
In September, 2006, Raphaël learned the cancer he had fought four years earlier had returned. Motivated to resume his basketball season, he met with fellow cancer survivor and former Captain of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team Saku Koivu, to learn how he managed to return in time for the playoffs the same season he was diagnosed with cancer. Following this encounter, Raphaël started a fundraising campaign for the Saku Koivu Foundation which raised $50,000 and he then himself managed to return to basketball in time for his playoffs.
Raphaël got to live a dream when he rode with Lance Armstrong in 2009 in a fundraiser benefitting the Cedars Cancer Institute. Four weeks before this event, Raphaël underwent a surgery which resulted in a cancer free diagnosis, but he yet managed to resume his training in time to ride with the most celebrated cyclist in the world.
Raphaël was able to overcome a life threatening illness twice before the age of sixteen. The hardships, uncertainty, tears and painful procedures that he endured through those many months of treatment could have shaped this man to be sad, bitter and broken. Instead, it has only fed to his appetite to love life and to inspire every person that comes into contact with him. Cedars is so excited to welcome this bright young man and his fund to the Cedars family, to take the lead in our AYA fundraising initiatives.