The Canadian Cancer Society highlights the outstanding courage and resilience of Martha Moore from Gatineau and Sylvain Poissant from Montreal

22 June 2015

Montreal -

During the 2015 Relay For Life closing ceremony in Montreal on June 19, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) awarded Martha Moore and Sylvain Poissant its highest national distinction: the Medal of Courage. This medal recognizes the outstanding courage of a person who has fought a personal battle against cancer. It also recognizes this person’s significant contribution as a volunteer to the fight against cancer.

“This year, exceptionally, the CCS has awarded two Medals of Courage in Quebec. We must add to courage the words commitment and perseverance to describe CCS volunteers Martha Moore and Sylvain Poissant,” says Suzanne Dubois, Executive Director, Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division. “With their optimism and their unfailing dedication, they were a source of inspiration to all of us.”

Over the past few years, Martha Moore, a Maniwaki resident, has had to face cancer several times. Despite these ordeals, she stayed positive and continued to show determination and resilience. Martha Moore was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2001, which reappeared in 2003. As for her husband Garry, he had a brush with cancer twice: skin cancer about twenty years ago and prostate cancer in 2010. In the fall of 2013, tragedy struck the couple again as they lost a loved one to complications from cancer. Their two grandchildren have since become involved with the CCS as volunteers, like them.

At 36, Sylvain Poissant, from Mercier, has a long track record already. An avid sportsman, this baseball and hockey fan was a lifeguard as a teenager and later a high school physical education teacher, but nothing prepared him for the surprise that awaited him when he was 27: melanoma. He recalls his battle against the disease as a huge adventure that he was in. When cancer reappeared in 2006, he said to himself: “I have two choices: palliative care or experimental protocols. So, the young man with a contagious sense of humour “decided to check out whether I was a good guinea pig.” He started looking at the disease as a challenge, an eventuality. Nearly a life goal. Today, in spite of treatments that are still in progress and eight recurrences, the cancer is unfortunately still there. Sylvain is still as crazy about hockey and baseball and he has a will of steel: “I try to live each day to the fullest. We all have our ordeals to face and challenges to overcome. My priority is to survive and help others by volunteering with the CCS,” he says.

CCS ambassadors active every day

Year after year, Martha has been keeping an eye on the success of the CCS’s Relay For Life, contributes to various CCS campaigns (such as the sale of daffodils and the Thingamaboob) and supports hundreds of people living with cancer.

As for Sylvain, he communicates his skin cancer prevention message to young Quebecers with passion, participates in the Relay For Life, organizes fundraising activities and regularly shares his story at CCS meetings and events. Being very generous, he handed a part of his earnings from appearing on the television show Le Banquier to the CCS. His is also one of the faces of the CCS’s Let’s save more lives campaign, which draws on the strength and resilience of people like Sylvain who are living with the disease.

“We’ll never repeat this enough: one of the greatest strengths of the CCS is the commitment of its volunteers,” adds Suzanne Dubois. “They sometimes work behind the scenes, but shine by their dedication and determination. We are very proud to recognize Martha Moore and Sylvain Poissant’s actions, honour them and thank them for all that they do.”

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) Board Chair and FTM Synergis Capital Executive Vice President Pierre B. Lafrenière, the CCS Executive Director Suzanne Dubois and the CCS incumbent Board Vice-Chair and Financial Director at the Barreau du Québec Pierre Richard, awarded to Martha Moore and Sylvain Poissant the Medal of Courage.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

With the support of 300,000 donors annually and 30,000 volunteers, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is the Quebec cancer charity that has the greatest potential to save more lives. Each year, some 135,000 turn to it for help. The CCS is doing all it can to increase the overall cancer survival rate, which is currently 63%, to 80% by 2030.

The money raised by the CCS helps:

  • prevent more cancers and push for laws that protect public health
  • fund more research projects
  • support more people living with cancer
Let’s save more lives. Visit cancer.ca or call us at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

André Beaulieu

Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, Public Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Quebec Division

Phone: (514) 393-3444