On Sunday, July 22nd, under a sunny sky and a good breeze, sailors started their voyage down the St Lawrence River as part of the 8th edition of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo. Among the 25 participants is IRIC spokesperson Robert Patenaude who, along with his crew members Tom Amory and Antoine Lacasse, will be navigating his Perseverance sailboat 5,365 kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean. This is the second transatlantic race this summer for the cancer survivor who is celebrating 30 years of recovery.

In 1982, Robert Patenaude received one of the first bone marrow transplants in Canada. The procedure, then at the experimental stage, was suggested by his doctor Claude Perreault, to treat a chronic myeloid leukemia, an incurable cancer at the time. 30 years later, Robert Patenaude is sailing across the Atlantic for the second time this summer after having participated in June in the Twostar Transatlantic Race that brought him from Plymouth, England to Newport, Rhode Island in the U.S.

“30 years ago, I was gravely ill, confined to a hospital room that I had decorated with pictures of sailboats, a passion I had discovered as a teen. Because of the dedicated work of researchers like Dr. Perreault, I have won my battle against cancer and I lead a healthy and full life. Today, I am fulfilling a dream but also, I hope to encourage all those who pursue their daily battle against cancer.”

Thanks to the progress made in cancer research, 80% of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia can now have a normal life expectancy.  Even with major advances, cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada. Robert Patenaude encourages everyone to celebrate his 30 years of cancer recovery by making a donation to IRIC. 100% of the funds raised will be dedicated to cancer research at IRIC. To donate: www.iric.ca/en/supporting-iric/why-give-to-iric/how-to-donate

IRIC thanks the National Bank for their support.





About the Transat Québec Saint-Malo
The very first Transat Québec Saint-Malo set sail in 1984 to mark the 450th anniversary of explorer Jacques Cartier’s first voyage from Saint-Malo to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1534. Every four years since then, the Transat Québec Saint-Malo has brought together the best professional monohull and multihull ocean racers around for an epic Atlantic crossing from Québec City to Saint-Malo.One of the classic offshore yacht races, the Transat Québec Saint-Malo is the only continuous west-to-east offshore crewed race in the world. Skippers and their boats pursue an itinerary of 2,897 nautical miles, or 5,365 kilometers. Information: www.transatquebecstmalo.com

About Robert Patenaude
In 1981, Robert Patenaude was a medical student at the Université de Montréal when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid cancer, then an incurable cancer. With only a few months to live, hematologist Claude Perreault, now a researcher at IRIC, performed an innovative procedure at the time: a bone marrow transplant. Today, Robert Patenaude enjoys a healthy and active life. A sailing enthusiast and an avid cyclist, he is an emergency physician at the Centre hospitalier Honoré-Mercier in Saint-Hyacinthe. He is also the author of several published titles including Surviving Leukemia, in which he details his personal struggle with the illness. Since 2007, Robert Patenaude has been acting as IRIC’s spokesperson and his fundraising activities have generated over $1.5 million in donations. He organizes the Perseverance Challenge, a yearly fundraising campaign where 100% of the funds raised are invested in cancer research at IRIC.

Carolyne Lord
IRIC | Université de Montréal