Megan Shepard, Marc Boudreau, and Megan’s daughter, Jonah Mae, together before Marc passed away. Shepard hopes by supporting cardiac care, others can have access to heart health care here at home in Cape Breton.
-by John Gillis
It’s been nearly three years since Megan Shepard’s partner, well-known fiddler Marc Boudreau, passed away from a sudden heart attack at 32 years old, but the pain is just as fresh.
“I can still remember how hard it was to deal with, it felt like I’d never be the same.” Today, Shepard is a registered massage therapist and finds comfort in healing others.
“I like relieving people, increasing mobility, and improving pain. To be honest it helps me relieve my own pain,” she says.
Shepard, a registered massage therapist, is finding a way to help others by paying it forward.
Shepard is donating five dollars from every session in the month of February to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation for cardiac care.
Shepard, 33, was brought up in Marion Bridge and recently moved to Sydney, where she also moved her practice to a new, more central location. She had to slightly increase her rate and due to that, she decided she would find a way to help others.
“I had to increase my rate by five dollars, so I wanted to make sure I did something important with that money. I’ve seen the devastation of a loss from a heart attack, so I want to help others who need it.”
Marc Boudreau, originally from Chéticamp, was a paramedic since 2004 and started playing the fiddle at the age of eight.
Marc grew to be quite talented, playing at the 1998 East Coast Music Awards, beside many of his idols such as Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster, Buddy MacMaster, and the Rankin Family. He recorded two CDs, played hundreds of shows all over the country, and became a fixture on the local Celtic music scene in Cape Breton. Many would remember Marc’s lively musical sessions with friends at the Doryman Beverage Room in Cheticamp.
Boudreau also loved to play hockey, crib, and was great with children. He was very close to Megan’s two-year-old daughter, Jonah Mae.
“He was so important to her and she was to him,” Shepard said. “That’s why I want to do this, so other people can have access to important cardiac care. I remain close with Marc’s parents and I think doing this is a great way to remember Marc and to continue the healing process,” Megan added.
Shepard’s massage therapy practice is now located in the Planet Beach building at 55 Townsend Street in Sydney. She offers a full range of services, relaxation treatments to therapeutic treatments and even deep tissue massages. Her sessions are 30, 60, or 90 minutes and she direct bills to most insurance carriers.
Megan will direct the funds raised in February to supporting cardiac care and the staff of the Regional Hospital are thrilled that they can rely on this community support.
“We have thousands of cardiac care patients every year and many need important and often life-saving care,” said Dr. Paul MacDonald, cardiologist at the Regional site. “Community support like this is what enables the medical staff to do our job and it directly impacts health outcomes here at home.”
After February, Megan plans to continue giving back, with a plan to do the same in May, for mental health and August and September for cancer care.
“I want to continue to give back. I have suffered from mental health battles and my mother went through her own cancer battle 12 years ago,” said Shepard. “It’s important for me to give back, because I know that what others have given has helped me when I needed it. Now it’s my turn to help,” Shepard concluded.
About the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation
Since 1990, the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation, in partnership with the community, has raised more than $50 million to purchase equipment and fund upgrades at the Regional Hospital. This has reduced wait times and provided an increased menu of services – closer to home. The foundation has recently been accredited under Imagine Canada’s national Standards Program, which promotes transparency of charities and non-profits, and strengthens public confidence in organizations and the sector as a whole.
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