Crowdfunding for a shower: Donations pour in for Quebec City man with MS

A Quebec City man with limited mobility has raised over $10,000 so far in an online campaign to find the money to pay for more than one shower a week in the long-term care home where he lives.

Health minister says it's 'unjustifiable' chronic care home offers just 1 shower a week but offers no funding

François Marcotte is hoping to raise $5,200 through a GoFundMe campaign so he can afford to have three showers a week.

A Quebec City man with multiple sclerosis with limited mobility has launched an online campaign to raise money so he can have more than one shower a week in the long-term care home where he lives.

"The government doesn't provide enough money for hygiene," François Marcotte, 43, said in an interview Thursday. He said he's hoping to raise enough money to afford three showers a week.

"I find it sad that I have to turn to alternative sources of funding to pay for an essential service."

I find it humiliating. I suffer in the heat. Each morning I wake up and I'm hot. I'm sweating. I'd like more than one shower a week.- François Marcotte

​Marcotte was first diagnosed with MS in his 20s. As the disease progressed and paralysis set in, Marcotte said he increasingly became a prisoner in his own body. 

For more than a decade, he lived with his parents and they cared for him.

Last year, to give his parents a break, he moved into the Centre d'hébergement du Boisé long-term care home in Quebec City.


Most of the other patients are in their 80s, and Marcotte said he has found the adjustment difficult. 

However, he said the toughest thing has been the limit of one shower per week.

"I find it humiliating. I suffer in the heat. Each morning I wake up, and I'm hot. I'm sweating. I'd like more than one shower a week," Marcotte said.

It takes about three hours for someone to assist Marcotte to have a shower.  He uses a special waterproof chair. The long-term care home told Marcotte it can only afford to provide that service once a week.

Health minister baffled, but making no promises

The home did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday.

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said the situation Marcotte now finds himself in is unacceptable and said he has already called the local health authority to ask for changes.

"This is something that is totally incomprehensible," Barrette said. "It's unjustifiable."

However, he stopped short of promising Marcotte three showers a week and said perhaps sponge baths would be sufficient.

$100 a week for hygiene, well-being

Marcotte launched his gofundme campaign earlier this month. 

He's hoping to raise $5,200, enough to pay someone $100 a week for two additional showers. That would make a huge difference to his quality of life, he said.

"It gives me self-confidence and comfort, but it's more than that," he said.

"With MS I have a lot of spasms. The shower relaxes me. When I have showers at night I sleep better, I feel better. It's not just a question of hygiene, it's for my well-being," Marcotte said.

So far he's raised over $10,000, with $4,000 committed within a few hours of his story's publication in the French daily Le Devoir on Thursday morning.

If he manages to raise $20,000, Marcotte says on his fundraising page that he would buy an adapted vehicle to accommodate his wheelchair.