An older photo of Marie, featuring her nurse uniform

A legacy gift: Marie’s story


Marie Richard was many things in her life: Accomplished nurse, devoted sister to 20 siblings, beloved aunt, and generous philanthropist. Marie also lived with Parkinson’s disease for almost 30 years, but that didn’t define the woman she was or the life she lived.

“My aunt had balance issues and walked with a gait. Her handwriting looked like scribbles. The tremors also compounded her speech impediment, and she was hard to understand at times,” Melissa says. “But what she couldn’t say with words she said with her eyes. They lit up the room. She never let Parkinson’s get the best of her.”

With an attitude that Melissa calls inspiring, Marie was determined to live her best life. She worked as a nurse until her retirement in 1994. She walked everywhere, especially after Parkinson’s prevented her from driving. And she never stopped dancing. “She loved participating in Zumba classes in her long-term care home,” says Melissa.

Marie was a devoted friend and caregiver to many. With seven younger siblings, she became known as a protector – an early attribute that carried her well into her life of service through nursing.

Marie was also dedicated to helping people she’d never met through charitable giving. Upon her death on October 28, 2020, at the age of 92, she had provided to charities close to her heart, including Parkinson Canada

“My aunt recognized the importance of Parkinson Canada and it inspired her to give,” says Melissa. “She was a big advocate for Parkinson’s research. As a health professional, she knew how important it was and how it could evolve into better treatments and a better quality of life for many others.”

Marie also made the decision to remember Parkinson Canada in her will – a decision that didn’t come as a surprise to her niece. “Charities are the heart of our society. They can’t deliver their vital work without our ongoing support,” she says. “My aunt’s last gift to Parkinson Canada is a positive legacy that will make a lasting difference for this generation and for generations to come.”

Like Marie, Melissa believes Parkinson research is on the cusp of discovering new and exciting treatments and even a cure. “We’re on the precipice of something bigger and better,” she says, “Donations, including a gift in a Will, will help ensure promising research projects can come to fruition sooner, allowing people with Parkinson’s to enjoy a better quality of life.”

For that reason, Melissa hopes caring donors like you will continue to support Parkinson Canada and consider making a gift in your Will. “When you give, you encourage friends and family to do the same,” she says. “It also gives you the opportunity to show gratitude for everything you’ve been given in life.”

We couldn’t agree more. And today, we are forever grateful to our wonderful donors, including Marie, who was a strong advocate for those living with Parkinson’s. Marie’s generosity and foresight will continue to have an impact for many years to come.

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