Emile Jutras helps launch Heart Week with Nick DeSantis, Mauro Biello

Heart Week is part of an entirely new fundraising program being initiated by The Heart of Life Fund of The Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation and the English Montreal School Board.

Little Émile was accompanied by his parents, doctors from the hospital and mascots from the campaign, in addition to official spokespersons Nick DeSantis and Mauro Biello. Coronation is one of many EMSB schools where students will be outfitted in red on a specific day during Heart Week, February 9 to 13. On that day, each student with a healthy heart will be asked to bring a small donation — a loonie or toonie — to help a child with a «broken heart». This will also make kids think about helping others and appreciating their own good health.

Nick DeSantis and Mauro Biello, as well as other representatives, will be visiting a number of EMSB schools next week.

"Over the last two years, I’ve had the chance of getting to know people from the Montreal Children’s Hospital and I’ve been impressed by their remarkable work," said Nick DeSantis. "I also know that they need our help to continue their excellent work. That’s why Mauro and I will be visiting schools to try and create an awareness for children suffering from heart problems."

"As professional athletes, we have to remember that we’re lucky to be in good health while others aren’t so lucky," said Mauro Biello. "One child out of 100 is born with a heart defect. We need to do our part to help these kids improve their quality of life.

"We are all inspired by the courage of Émile and thousands of others who suffer from heart defects. With our help, they can one day lead normal, healthy lives."

Last summer, Gary Silverman and Simone Leroux, of Le Fonds Au Coeur de la vie/The Heart of Life Fund, announced they would be starting a $1 million fund-raising campaign to support equipment and training for The Children’s cardiac team, with the involvement of Émile’s family.

Émile made headlines when he spent a total of 126 days on life support at The Children’s after a rare viral infection caused his heart to fail. He spent 17 days on ECMO (Extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation), and 109 days on the famous Berlin artificial heart. He was the first in Canada, and the youngest in North America, ever to use the Berlin heart, which was flown in from Germany especially for him. Finally, on July 3, 2002, he received a new heart.



Stéphane Banfi
514-328-3668 (ext. 27)