Grateful patient recognizes medical residents with remarkable donation

Faculty of Medicine
Medicine news
Todd Brazeau
So impressed by the compassionate care he received from resident doctors during his cancer treatment, Todd Brazeau generously established the Todd Brazeau Award in Urology for resident physicians.

On May 29, 2023, Todd Brazeau went to the Emergency Department at the Winchester District Memorial Hospital with blood in his urine. During a CT scan of his bladder, doctors noticed a large mass. Concerned that it was cancerous, they immediately shared their findings and scheduled a follow-up appointment for three weeks later. However, before it could happen Todd returned to the emergency department in considerable pain and further tests were ordered to examine the lining of his bladder. Unfortunately their original suspicion was confirmed, and Todd was diagnosed with stage four bladder cancer. He was immediately rushed to surgery so that surgeons could safely remove as much of the cancerous mass as possible.

Todd’s life had changed forever. With James, his husband and partner of 28 years by his side, he forged ahead in a journey too many people have had to endure. Where previously Todd and James had enjoyed travelling the world, meeting new people and absorbing new cultures, now Todd was learning that attending physicians specializing in urology and the medical residents training alongside them are adept in much more than just prostate exams and urinary tract infections. The residents in particular took the time to get him up to speed on how kidneys, the bladder and reproductive organs function.

After being transferred to the Ottawa Hospital, the clinical team discussed treatment plans. Each of the plans shared one common and key component: involvement from the patient.

“I immediately felt like part of the process and an active participant in the decisions being made about my treatment. It was clear that the Urology team were seeing me, the patient, and not just the cancer,” says Todd.

There were hurdles to overcome as treatment started; Todd couldn’t receive chemotherapy until his creatinine levels were in the correct range. However, by mid-September, his bloodwork showed improvement and he was given the green light to begin chemotherapy. Three months later he was in remission, much to everyone’s surprise.

“My team of doctors were shocked at how well I responded to chemotherapy,” says Todd.

Despite this good news, a long battle remains as Todd transitions to immunotherapy. However, one thing is certain; Todd is convinced that the resident doctors from the urology department saved his life.

During treatments, Todd says it was the residents who would take the time to sit with him and comfort him, often even staying past their scheduled shift.

Todd Brazeau

“I have a deep conviction that the way I was cared for by the residents of the Faculty of Medicine at The Ottawa Hospital was a determining factor in improving my health.”

Todd Brazeau

"I am extremely grateful for the work done by the residents and want to highlight both the human qualities of the doctors and the Faculty's urology department that trains great doctors who can save lives" adds Todd.

Because of the extraordinary care he received, Todd and his husband wanted to do something to show their appreciation that would have a direct impact on residents.

Together, Todd and James contacted the Faculty of Medicine and decided to donate $100,000 to establish the Todd Brazeau Award in Urology and create an endowment that would, in perpetuity, grant an annual award of $3,000 to a resident physician enrolled at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine in the Urology Residency Program, cementing Todd Brazeau's legacy and symbolizing an enduring commitment to supporting future generations of medical practitioners.

"I'm making this donation to recognize the role urology residents have played in my journey," says Todd. "And if it inspires the next generation of physicians to be empathetic, compassionate and transparent, then it's a win-win for everyone."

The incredible gift—the first of its kind specifically designated for urology at uOttawa—came as a tremendous surprise to the Urology Residency Program.

“Mr. Brazeau's recognition has touched all of us in the Department of Urology," says Dr. Matt Roberts, Director of the Urology Program at the Faculty of Medicine. "This gift is a testament to Mr. Brazeau's gratitude to our exemplary residents and further encourages their commitment to put compassion, transparency and humanity at the center of their relationships with patients."

Less than a year after the discovery of his illness, Todd received the excellent news that his latest CT scan showed no signs of cancer.

As one of the top five medical schools in Canada, as well as the first and largest bilingual faculty of medicine in Canada, the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine is dedicated to educating and training future leaders in research, patient care, and public health to advance healthcare locally and globally. This work is made possible in large part because of generous donors such as Todd and James. The Faculty of Medicine is profoundly grateful for their incredible generosity and humbled that each year we will have the opportunity to commemorate this kindness by granting the Todd Brazeau Award in Urology.

Support the Faculty of Medicine today!
Use the “Other designation” field on our online donation form and indicate your support towards the 'Todd Brazeau Prize in Urology'.