Patient Stories

Dr. Lucy Gilbert brings hope to patients

Dr. Lucy Gilbert with her patient Marie-France Angers.

Marie-France Angers savours the small things that perhaps only those who have been really sick, and staring down death can truly appreciate. She enjoys spending time in nature, and walking through the woods at her condo north of the city in the Laurentians. She plans trips and travels abroad with her loved ones. She no longer sleeps with her cell phone by her bed, or works 70-hour weeks.

“We definitely live in a world that is way too stressful,” says Marie-France when we meet up at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation Glen Site office for an interview between her medical appointments. “Life is such a precious gift. We should just embrace every moment.”

Two years ago when she was only 57 years old Marie-France was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer that had metastasized.

At the time of her diagnosis she didn’t have clear symptoms, and being told she had cancer caught her by surprise. An x-ray showed fluid in her lungs, and by the time it was drained – more than three liters of it in all – the avid swimmer could barely walk or talk.

“You start living every moment, the day they tell you that perhaps it’s your last moment,” she says. “What I really took out of this experience is that there’s so much more to life than work and your career.”

Marie-France still recalls how hopeful she felt after being referred to Dr. Lucy Gilbert, the director of Gynecology-Oncology at the MUHC.  Dr. Gilbert performed surgery for six hours on her, and began twice-monthly intravenous chemotherapy treatments before starting her on a clinical trial in January of 2018. Now, with nearly 18 months and counting of cancer-free living Marie-France has only gratitude for the health care professionals who cared for her.

“All through this I must admit, if it wasn’t for Dr. Gilbert and her team I definitely wouldn’t be here. I would have died probably within a couple of months,” she says. “I don’t think I would have seen Christmas of 2017, so now I live on borrowed time and it is so precious.”

Like many of her fellow patients, Marie-France has become an ambassador for Dr. Gilbert and the work she is doing to save women’s lives. This appreciative patient wants to advocate for all women so that they can benefit from the DOvEE project, a test which helps diagnose ovarian and endometrial cancers early.

An estimated 7,300 Canadian women are diagnosed with endometrial cancer in Canada each year, and more than 1,200 will die from the disease. Ovarian cancer is less common but more lethal, affecting more than 2,800 women and killing about 1,800 in Canada annually.

“I’m still very sad inside that more is not being done,” says Marie-France. “We can’t expect Dr. Gilbert, her team to be alone in this fight. I understand there are a lot of cancers, but this one is really sad. Most of the time it’s too late, and it shouldn’t’ be too late. We have to find a way of making sure that we get the visibility that we should, enabling all women to have access to early detection.”

Dr. Gilbert and her colleagues were awarded Quebec Science magazine’s Discovery of the Year 2018 for their work in the early detection of ovarian and endometrial cancers.

To find out how you can help, visit

Comfort Cart supports patients

Four years ago, Jean Gordon was unexpectedly admitted to the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) to undergo heart surgery. She didn’t have any toiletries or supplies for basic needs during her stay. Through this experience, she saw first-hand the value...

read more

Family running to raise funds for leukemia

It would be an understatement to say that life has been challenging for Geneviève Dubé these last few years. The mother of twin teenage boys lost her husband Michel Lessard to leukemia last June. One of her sons had a serious accident several months earlier, requiring...

read more

Ocular Pathology Lab gets $5 million boost

Thanks to the generous support of our community, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation has surpassed its goal, raising $5 million for the Dr. Miguel Burnier 20/20 Campaign in support of the Ocular Pathology Laboratory at the MUHC. Half a...

read more

Message from a donor

How a legacy gift is inspiring hope for one Montreal area couple "Initially, it seemed like just a little pimple on my arm between the elbow and the shoulder, but this pea-sized growth was painful. As the pain intensified in the following weeks I saw doctors and had...

read more

Art and Heritage Centre comforts patients

Art is not just for museums. In fact, for an institution as storied as the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), art is a way of recognizing and relishing our collective history. That’s something the MUHC’s RBC Art and Heritage Centre Curator Alexandra Kirsh firmly...

read more

Montreal women are reducing their risk

As a 40-year-old mother and business owner used to going for long morning runs, Susan Rodrigues filled her days with meetings, travel, and caring for her son. She regularly went for morning hikes while moderating a 12-client conference call. She was a woman who ran a...

read more

Follow Us

Unable to display Facebook posts.
Show error

Error: Error validating access token: The session has been invalidated because the user changed their password or Facebook has changed the session for security reasons.
Type: OAuthException
Code: 190
Subcode: 460
Please refer to our Error Message Reference.

At the MUHC Foundation, patients and their families are at the heart of our mission, and we understand the importance of having world-class patient care available to them when they need it most.  It is an honour and a privilege to inspire our community to philanthropically support the greatest needs of the MUHC. Our donors motivate us, as well as our researchers and healthcare providers, to offer the best care for life.

Julie Quenneville

President, MUHC Foundation

Sign up to learn more

We'll send you updates on the world-class doctors and researchers transforming patient care at the MUHC, share important health and wellness tips, and demonstrate how we are impacting healthcare for you, and for those you love.

You have successfully subscribed!