Francois Beauregard

Francois Beauregard in a bussiness suit

Several years ago, François Beauregard was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. Now in his 40s, he can still read, but uses a white cane to navigate Montreal’s busy streets. 

Soon after he received his white cane, Beauregard met a former CNIB board member who urged him to get involved with the organization. So in 1994, Beauregard walked into CNIB’s Montreal office and asked, “What can I do for you?”

Taking action, any way he can

Since posing that question, Beauregard has been a very active member of CNIB’s Quebec Division Board, as well as sitting on CNIB’s National Communications Committee. 

He is also an ambitious fundraising volunteer. In fact, drawing on his skills as a financial advisor for CIBC Wood Gundy, Beauregard developed seminars on fundraising that he now presents to donors, CNIB staff and financial professionals.

His enthusiasm has spilled over into his Wood Gundy office, which has organized company baseball and golf tournaments that have raised thousands of dollars for CNIB. 

In addition, Beauregard also wrote a book in 2000 titled, “Votre argent, Votre Liberte” (“Your money, Your Freedom”), with all royalties going to CNIB. 

He has appeared on several television and radio shows to raise awareness and funds and sometimes speaks to groups of people who are blind about his own experiences with vision loss.

And surprisingly, he was reluctant to be interviewed, questioning whether he deserved to be profiled. 

“In my mind volunteers are people that, day in and day out, in the rain, sleet and snow, will help blind people from their homes to do their shopping and go and visit museums with them – much more time-consuming activities than what I do,” he says modestly. 

Why he volunteers

His reasons for volunteering are both spiritual and selfish, he contends.

Because his condition may worsen over time, his efforts go toward ensuring that CNIB will be in good shape to provide the services he may need in the future. 

“I’ll need you guys in three, five or eight years down the road,” he says. 

But the root of his commitment lies in how volunteering helps him with the recognition and acceptance of his own condition. 

“Volunteering is a great cure [for] self-pity. It’s a way to accept what’s going on and get involved in the process. It allows you to focus on someone else and help someone else who is in a much more difficult situation,” he says. 

“I can relate to mobility problems and know the frustration of bumping into things and spilling glasses on tables, but I’m lucky,” he adds.