The Dream Big Campaign to change the course of lives and medicine will support the priorities of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).

The MUHC is one of Canada’s leading hospitals because Montrealers had big dreams over a century ago. Our community helped to build a new home for the MUHC — one of the most intelligently designed hospitals for patient care and research on the planet. Today, the MUHC delivers ultra-specialized, compassionate, integrated care.

At the MUHC, the health of patients comes first. Each of them has a unique story, and Dream Big is about helping them regain their health so they can pursue their own big dreams.

Fix Broken Hearts

Dream Big Campaign - Dennis Carranza

Dennis Carranza underwent a life-changing heart transplant at the MUHC at the age of 42

At the age of 42, Dennis Carranza underwent a life-changing heart transplant. Diagnosed with heart failure in 2012, he lived with an implanted defibrillator until that was no longer an option.

“The transplant has given me a totally new way of looking at things,” says Carranza. “I am feeling better, I’m able to play sports again and I can work. It feels like I’m back to being myself again.”

Carranza’s big dream, like that of the thousands of Canadians living with heart disease, is to live a normal life. That is why the MUHC Foundation launched Dream Big: Fix Broken Hearts to raise $50 million to ensure Montreal has the lowest rate of hospitalization and fewest deaths due to heart disease in Canada.

Dream Big Campaign - Joanne Photiades

Joanne Photiades is co-chair of DOvEE, a Dream Big priority supporting early detection of ovarian and endometrial cancers

Stop the Silent Killer

When Joanne Photiades felt stabbing pains in her abdomen, she knew something was wrong. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she faced the possibility of never becoming a mother. With the help of MUHC gynecologic oncologist Dr. Lucy Gilbert, today Joanne is healthy and the mother of twin boys.

Joanne knows she was lucky to present symptoms and to have recognized them in time: too many women are diagnosed too late. Joanne’s big dream is that no woman’s life—and no woman’s potential—be cut short by the “silent killer.” The Dream Big: Stop the Silent Killer priority is raising $2 million to support the DOvEEgene test, a new innovation in early detection of ovarian and endometrial cancers pioneered by Dr. Lucy Gilbert.

“Dr. Gilbert saved my life, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to pay it forward and co-chair the fundraising campaign that will send the DovEEgene test to clinical trial and ultimately save the lives of women around the world,” says Photiades.

Solve Humanity’s Deadliest Puzzles

In the midst of a global pandemic, all eyes are on Dr. Don Sheppard, founder of the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4.) MI4 is the largest group of experts focused on infectious diseases in the world, working to solve antibiotic resistance and infectious diseases like TB and COVID-19. Through its Solve Humanity’s Deadliest Puzzles priority, the Foundation will raise $60 million to support Dr. Sheppard’s big dream: to wipe out infectious diseases.

“If nothing changes, the bugs will win,” says Dr. Sheppard, “So we’re working on strategies the bugs can’t evolve around.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is exactly the kind of event MI4 was preparing for, and in just six months MI4’s many scientists have launched over 50 research projects to solve the global pandemic, from treatments to tracking disease transmission to vaccine development.

End Cancer

After giving birth to her son, Giovanna Desimini became violently ill. Returning to the hospital, her doctors found a twenty-five centimetre tumour on her pancreas. Within days, she was in surgery to remove the tumour.

Dream Big Campaign - Giovanna Desimini

Giovanna Desimini is a cancer patient whose big dream is to see cancer cured

“Everything was normal. The pregnancy was good. I was fine, working full time. After the baby, everything went berserk,” says Desimini.

Her son is now eleven, and Giovanna continues to fight her disease after undergoing several rounds of treatment over the years. Her big dream is to see cancer cured, so no one has to go through what she did. To End Cancer as a deadly disease, the MUHC Foundation is raising $35 million in collaboration with the other foundations of the MUHC to pioneer new techniques that will personalize cancer treatment and save lives.

These are just a few of the many priorities the MUHC Foundation is supporting through Dream Big. The campaign will also raise funds for skills and simulation training to create Canada’s best skilled team at the MUHC, cannabis research to unlock the medical benefits of this contentious plant, respiratory research and care, cutting-edge equipment, and recruitment of talented personnel. Together, they make up an historic campaign that will define the future of the McGill University Health Centre.

“The MUHC is one of the best university hospitals in Canada. With the Dream Big Campaign, we will make it one of the best in the world,” says Norman Steinberg, Chair of the MUHC Foundation’s Board of Directors.

As a community, we can make this big dream come true. Our strength, compassion and generosity built the MUHC, and now we must come together again to change the course of lives and medicine. We invite you to Dream Big with us.

To learn more and donate to the Dream Big campaign, visit