Thirty years ago Canderel Founder and Chairman Jonathan Wener and his wife Susan Wener led Montrealers in another exhilarating initiative that has become a permanent and vital fixture on Montreal’s major event calendar. They are the type of people who are irreplaceable not just because of what they do but because of who they are. They do style great, but their substance is even greater. Three decades ago they founded the Déri Canderal to Fight Cancer.
In 1989 Susan was diagnosed with colon cancer. Jonathan was at her side constantly, but also decided to do something for everyone suffering from this scourge. He decided to start playing a major role in funding research. And the Défi was born. Just as Jonathan is recognized across all communities for being a singular corporate and public leader, so the Défi has been adopted and accepted by all cultural and corporate centers in Montreal.
At noon on May 9th Jonathan and Susan they will head up the 30th edition of the Défi. The Défi has raised millions for cancer research over the years and has involved dozens of the largest financial, legal and industrial corporations in Quebec to participate with matching funds and send teams of employees to march. This year there will be a record number of participants and the Challenge is on for a record amount of money raised.
Some 1500 people have already signed up to participate, an almost 50% increase from last year. And the total dollars raised is set to break $2 million, a near one-third increase. Both would break all past records. The thousands of marchers will gather and warm up on their traditional spot at the Roddick Gates on Sherbrooke and through the McGill quad, listen to a number of speakers including the Weners, and then make their way through 2.5 kilometres of downtown Montreal.
Over the years the Défi has raised $16 million dollars divided equally between the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Centre at McGill and the Montreal Cancer Institute affiliated with the Université de Montréal. As important as the impressive numbers, they are also the largest funding for strictly discretionary spending that the two cancer centres receive. The money is given with no strings attached. Both these centres of excellence have made remarkable advances in our understanding of cancer and our ability to translate these discoveries rapidly into clinical therapies for patients.
To sign up or donate — individually or corporatively — please go to deficanderel.com or call 514-261-7245.