Separated from their children for Mother’s Day

A mother with an incurable neurodegenerative disease fears spending her final Mother’s Day without her children, a day of celebration marred by COVID-19, which her spouse and one of her sons contracted.

For Valérie Garneau, 47, Mother’s Day is an important celebration. She suffers from Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and has no idea what her health will be like in the future.

“When I’m having a good time, I can’t help but wonder if this is the last time. Unfortunately I won’t be able to see my loved ones for Mother’s Day this year,” she mentioned via email about her difficulty expressing herself.


The Lévis resident, diagnosed in 2020, is in some ways a prisoner of her body. “I am aware of my condition and my deterioration. However, I don’t want to give my kids a party where they visit me without my interaction with them.”

She spends a large part of the day listening to series every day, although she is very fond of reading. “I’m in more and more pain. I spend my days in a wheelchair and I have a hard time holding a book.”

Frankly, Ms. Garneau says that it is impossible to accept her illness, but that she must learn to live with it. “I’m often angry and I ask myself: Why me? I had so much to do. I would so love to keep working and giving back to the community,” said the one who held the title of finance director for Groupe Garneau’s thanatologist in Chaudière-Appalaches.


One of Mrs. Garneau’s children represents the 5th generation of the family to practice the thanatologist profession. The latter finds it extremely difficult not to be able to practice this profession with her son. “I could have shown him so many things. Nevertheless, I am proud of all my children. I would have loved to have been there to support her in her life as a parent. I want them to remember that I was a fighter and I tell them to always help others no matter the situation.

Valérie Garneau lives from day to day because her future is in danger of being cut short. “I never know what tomorrow is made of.” People with this condition generally have a life expectancy of between 5 and 10 years. The thanatologist founded the Valérie Garneau Fund to help researchers find a cure. She also wants to use this fund to raise awareness of the disease.

“My dream is that one day a solution will be found and that I will leave my mark on this discovery.”

Individuals interested in contributing to the fund can visit this link:

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