Room for Generosity and for Love

Helen Stavaris is an award-winning teacher of Business Administration at Dawson College. It was there that she met Stéphane Houle, also faculty at Dawson in Radiological Technologies (Diagnostic Imaging). It was not long before a love story bloomed and the two were married. Unfortunately, on Thanksgiving weekend of 2010, the sudden and untimely passing of Stéphane at the age of 48 brought the love story to a heartbreaking end. The shock of the tragic news devastated all those who knew Stéphane. Stéphane`s students that semester took up a collection among themselves and presented it to Helen with a special request to make a donation to the Montreal Children’s Hospital, where Stéphane had worked as a radiology technologist. A selfie of Helen and her students who raised money in honour of her deceased husband, Stéphane. It was the students’ kind and thoughtful gesture that gave Helen the idea to commemorate Stéphane’s legacy in a way that had a lasting effect. “That was the spark,” says Helen. No stranger to charitable giving and volunteerism, Helen decided to name a room after Stéphane at the new Montreal’s Children’s Hospital on the Glen site. The decision was gratifying but for a teacher, reaching the $100,000 donation to name the room was daunting. However, a staff member at the Montreal Children’s  Hospital Foundation, who knew Helen well from her work as a volunteer there, offered up a solution. Helen could take out a life insurance policy for $100,000, naming the Foundation as an irrevocable beneficiary. Then, she could pay an affordable monthly premium that qualified for a charitable tax receipt at the end of the year and, as soon as the life insurance policy was signed, commemorate her husband with a room named in his honour. And so, this love story continues through legacy giving. On the wall, at the entrance to the waiting room for the very technologist’s evaluation room where Stéphane would have worked, is a plaque that reads: In honour of Stéphane Houle (Radiology Technologist) - a tribute by his wife, Helen Stavaris.   If you would like to establish a tribute fund, please contact Josie Pizzuco at 514.934.4846 or