By Suzanne Asselin
It’s an undeniable fact – if Hope & Cope has been able to support tens of thousands of patients and their families over the past 40 years, it is thanks to the support of many donors from all walks of life. Alex Trichas and his cousins Chris, Nick and André Dimopoulos, owners of the highly successful auto parts company Groupe Dorval-Sources-Saint-Henri, are shining examples of donor commitment.
When asked where his motivation to embrace the cancer cause comes from, Alex explains that many years ago, one of their friends lost his wife, Linda Saab, to cancer after only two years of marriage. “He organized an annual golf tournament in her memory, to raise funds to support cancer patients. We actively participated in this event.”
When this golf tournament ended, Alex and his cousins decided to continue supporting the cancer cause. “Like many people, we often hear of someone who is touched by cancer,” he observes.
Alex Trichas was no stranger to fundraising. Originally from a small village in the Peloponnese in the south of Greece, Alex owns a house there, located next to a church. Several years ago, an uncle graciously ceded some land to house an ambulance he had purchased for the village. “My family and I wanted to honour our uncle’s commitment. We offered to renovate the church, which was in poor condition after years of deterioration. This was the first time we organized a fundraiser.” Alex and his family succeeded in raising the impressive sum of 35,000 euros, to which the villagers added their own contributions. Soon after he arrived in Montreal, in 1950, his uncle also sponsored fellow Greeks to help them immigrate and integrate into the city.
Encouraged by this experience, 14 years ago, they organized their first fundraising event to support cancer patients. “My wife wanted to participate in the Jewish General Hospital’s Weekend to End Breast Cancer. I suggested to her and my cousins that we organize our own walk in support of Hope & Cope instead,” recalls Alex. They set a modest goal of $10,000, which they easily surpassed, raising $26,000 that first year.
Over the years, suppliers, family, friends, colleagues and employees have participated enthusiastically in this annual Walk-a-thon that attracts hundreds of people. Says Alex, “We organize everything from A to Z – the publicity, the walk, the BBQ following the walk, and the raffle prizes.”
Every cent raised is turned over to Hope & Cope, specifically for its Cancer Exercise and Rehabilitation Program at the Wellness Centre. “The staff gave us a tour of the exercise facility and we were very happy to meet some of the patients and to see the results,” says Alex. “Some patients actively train there for several weeks so that they, too, can participate in our annual walk-a-thon,” he adds.
Alex Trichas is justifiably proud of having raised close to $800,000 to date, and he intends to honour his fundraising commitment for many years to come. “I hope that my children, in turn, also will help support this cause,” he remarks.
He and his family were touched by a letter he received from Hope & Cope thanking them for raising close to $70,000 last year alone, by hosting a virtual version of the walk during the pandemic – a clear sign that this remarkable donor and his team are always working to support the cause.
Public health rules permitting, Alex hopes to host this year’s walk-a-thon on-site and in person at St. Maxime Park in Chomedey, Laval, on Sunday, September 12, 2021. The invitation has been extended already!