Mayor Marc Demers opens up about prostate cancer diagnosis

Challenges all elected officials to wear the Procure bowtie this month

Mayor Marc Demers opens up about his prostate cancer diagnosis
Laval mayor Marc Demers summed up his own cancer experiences during the Bowvember campaign launch.
Martin C. Barry

Laval mayor Marc Demers, who is currently recovering following a cancer diagnosis, is challenging elected officials all over Quebec to emulate him and throw their support behind the 2018 Bowvember campaign to draw attention to the fight against prostate cancer.

Mayor’s cancer diagnosis

Demers and other prominent Procure supporters gathered at an Old Montreal hotel on Oct. 31 to mark the fifth year Procure is holding its campaign whose symbol is a stylish bow tie. The campaign hopes to raise $500,000 this year.

“It is with a great deal of emotion that I decided to join you this year, even it has been four years since the City of Laval supports Procure through our city council,” said Demers, noting that he was diagnosed last April with prostate cancer and underwent therapy for it.

Started last year

“This was something that started in 2017 in terms of tests,” added Demers. “And it’s difficult for the family. It’s difficult while you don’t know where it’s going, when the diagnosis has been made, because you’re telling yourself that all these specialists aren’t doing all this for nothing. But finally, thanks to research and thanks to science, I received a diagnosis that left me feeling more secure and that allows me to continue all my activities normally.

“And so if today I am here with you and in good health, it’s among other reasons because of Procure. Procure has played an essential role. Its awareness-raising campaigns and fundraising have made things such that men like myself are able to continue being fathers, husbands, brothers – and, in my case, even mayors.

Challenge to Quebec mayors

“And so it’s just in this context that I am issuing a challenge to all the mayors of Quebec, as well as to all elected officials, provincial, municipal and federal, to support this cause by proudly wearing the bowtie during the month of November.”

Demers will be asking all members of Laval city council to wear the Procure bowtie during the Nov. 6 public meeting of Laval city council. “It’s a sign of hope for all the people who, unfortunately, must face the challenges of testing and diagnosis for prostate cancer,” he said.

Dubuc designed bowtie

This year, Procure teamed up with Philippe Dubuc, the designer behind the 2018 bow tie symbolizing the fight against this disease with which 4,600 men in Quebec are diagnosed each year. Twenty-four celebrities are joining Procure in encouraging the public to buy the 2018 tie and wear it throughout the month of November.

They’re also encouraging the campaign’s supporters to share photos of themselves wearing the bow tie on social media to raise awareness, especially on Nov. 19 for Quebec Prostate Cancer Awareness Day. Procure is looking to reach a total of $2 million raised in the last five years.

Mayor Marc Demers opens up about his prostate cancer diagnosis
Supporters and ambassadors of Procure’s 2018 Bowvember campaign to raise money for prostate cancer research held a launch at an Old Montreal hotel on Nov. 1.

Another cancer survivor

“Let’s remember these past five years faced with dignity, and remain strong for the years to come,” said Laurent Proulx, president and CEO of Procure and himself a prostate cancer survivor. “We’re looking forward to the next five years together.”

The bow tie is now available for purchase for $35 at and from partner retailers including Centre du Rasoir, Philippe Dubuc, Greiche & Scaff and Simons. A complete list of retailers can be seen on the Bowvember website:

Procure’s official ambassadors

Procure will be bringing back 12 veteran ambassadors and inviting 12 recruits to bring awareness to the 12 men who receive a prostate cancer diagnosis every day in Quebec. Procure is having the former and current ambassadors compete in two teams throughout November to see who can collect the most additional donations for the cause.

Designer Philippe Dubuc and host Maripier Morin worked together to design a new box set of five chic bow ties — the Marvyn Kussner Edition — to celebrate Bowvember’s fifth anniversary. Production was limited to 100 box sets, which include the 2018 bow tie.

A cure for prostate cancer

Procure was founded in 2003 by Marvyn Kussner with the mission to provide scientists and the community with the means to better prevent and cure prostate cancer. Procure is the only charity in Quebec dedicated to fighting prostate cancer through research, education, information and support for men living with this disease, as well as for those close to them.

Since it was founded, Procure has invested $8 million in prostate cancer research through its Biobank project. The money raised by the 2017 Bowvember campaign has made it possible for Procure to offer crucial support services to men living with prostate cancer and to their loved ones, including: a 24-hour support line to speak with nurses specialized in prostate cancer Providing 4,100 high-quality Biobank biospecimens to researchers.