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January 26, 2023
Scott Jones has turned loss into a drive to give back, both as a donor and co-chair of the MUHC Foundation’s Dream Big. Breathe Easier respiratory campaign.
Scott Jones’ life has been shaped by loss. The Nova Steel executive’s mother, Gail, passed away from breast cancer when he was just 16-years-old. About 10 years later, his brother, Christopher, was struggling with a serious respiratory illness.
Christopher was born with neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops around immature nerve cells. The radiation therapy used to treat his cancer affected Christopher’s lungs, triggering his respiratory illness. He was treated at the Montreal Chest Institute (MCI).
“I remember pushing Christopher’s wheelchair when he was on oxygen in his early 20s. At that point, it was just my father and I looking after him, trying to improve his quality of life the best we could. We spent a lot of time together and grew very close as a family. Those years created an unbreakable bond with my dad that is stronger than ever today,” says Scott.
Christopher was treated at the MCI for about 6 years. Scott recalls how caring and compassionate the health care staff were. Christopher spent his final days at the old MCI on Saint-Urbain Street, passing away at only 26-years-old. Scott was 31.
Despite two terrible losses, and perhaps because of them, Scott thrived in his career. His father, Bryan, founded Nova Steel in 1979 and grew the company for 35 years. Scott took over leadership of the company when Bryan suffered a stroke in 2014.
“Because I faced adversity early on in life, I was prepared for the business world and any challenges that came my way. Loss helped me understand what’s important in life and what’s not, and I think that has helped me succeed in the business world,” says Scott.
For years, Scott and his father volunteered their time and gave philanthropically to health care, a cause they were drawn to because of their past.
“Having lost two of the most important people in our life, we wanted to give back. We wanted to help others who were struggling,” says Scott.
Scott and Bryan began fundraising for the Montreal Chest Institute (MCI), not only to give back for the care Christopher received, but to help ensure other patients and their families had the support they needed. Bryan sat on the board of the MCI, and the family made a donation to help build the MUHC Glen site.
Scott has always remembered the dedicated care his brother received. Recently, he became co-chair of the MUHC’s Dream Big. Breathe Easier campaign, which is raising $10 million to support breathtaking research and breath-giving care at the MCI.
“My goal is to improve equipment, attract good doctors and help the MUHC become an elite hospital not only in Canada, but around the world. We’re striving to be the best,” says Scott.
The Montreal Chest Institute provides expert care to patients with a wide range of respiratory conditions. In addition to lung cancer and COPD, it helps patients with asthma, improves quality of life for those living with cystic fibrosis and interstitial lung disease, and provides care for individuals living with long COVID. The new Post-COVID Clinic is addressing lingering symptoms of the illness and helping patients lead more normal lives. Earlier this year, Scott and his family made an extraordinary $1 million gift to support the MCI.
Through it all, Scott has always remained optimistic and hopeful. He has turned the hardships he experienced into something meaningful—paving the way for care that will help ensure fewer families lose their loved ones to respiratory disease.
The Montreal Chest Institute is an important centre for lung care in Quebec, and continues to be a priority of the MUHC Foundation. All proceeds from its 2023 Le Bal Rouge gala will support respiratory research and care.
To learn more about the Dream Big. Breathe Easier campaign and how you can support improved respiratory care at the MCI, visit https://muhcfoundation.com/works/breathe-easier