Posted at 7:00 a.m.
The year 2021 begins under the sign of optimism for Guy Lafleur. In an interview with the National Hockey League website, he suggests that he is responding well to the treatments, which have become necessary due to a recurrence of this lung cancer which does not want to disappear. He jokes that he “knocks on wood, like an old Sher-Wood 5030 stick.” This fine surge of enthusiasm contrasted with the previous news, which had been less good; in November 2019, he underwent surgery at the University of Montreal Hospital Center (CHUM), with the aim of removing the upper lobe of one of his lungs, which was followed by a recurrence of cancer of the lung. His January statements still suggested a happier sequel.
The Fondation du Center hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) announced in early March the creation of the Guy Lafleur Fund, which was set up to raise money for cancer research. It was Guy Lafleur himself who made the announcement, while making his first appearance in the public square since the news of the recurrence of his lung cancer, which occurred in October 2020. Lafleur made this announcement from virtual way, pandemic requires. During his time on camera, he claims that the cancerous mass that afflicts him has shrunk by 30%. “As long as there is life, there is hope,” he says.
Guy Lafleur takes part in a videoconference on Zoom and claims to be doing “super well” during the discussion. “Since the last two treatments, I see a big change, he says during this virtual meeting. I don’t know what happened, but the products seem to be working well, so I’m very happy. I had lost a lot of weight before, but now it’s going well. I don’t have nausea, so knock on wood. I am very happy […] What is important is to enjoy every moment. When you have hardships like that, it makes you realize that life hangs by a thread. »
Like the province as a whole, Guy Lafleur is impressed by the Canadian’s performance in the playoffs. An amazing Canadian who then prepares to advance to the third round of elimination. “The way they were playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs, I couldn’t believe it,” Lafleur said. When they were down 3-1 in the series against the Leafs, I didn’t expect this kind of comeback. But I was very happy that they succeeded. They have demonstrated that they have character. They wanted to show everyone that they could do it. »
Guy Lafleur is honored by the Gatineau Olympiques, who decide to retire his number 4, even though the famous forward has never worn their jersey, since the Olympiques did not yet exist when he set fire to the ice of the Ligue de Quebec major junior hockey (LHJMQ) in the jersey of the Quebec Remparts. But for Lafleur, it was in a way a homecoming, he who was born in the region, in Thurso. “I have always found it very important to return to my sources and not to forget where I come from, he explained before the ceremony in Gatineau. The Outaouais is the region that allowed me to exploit my talent as a hockey player at a young age. I was a little surprised by the initiative of the Olympiques; I spent my career with the Remparts. But I am very happy that the Outaouais region has decided to pay tribute to me. »
After this tribute in Gatineau in September, Lafleur receives a similar but even more grandiose tribute where he was able to really make a name for himself, at the turn of the 1970s: in Quebec, at the Remparts. Passing through the provincial capital, he attended the unveiling of a new statue erected in his honor, near the Videotron Center. During his emotional speech, he said: “A career goes by so quickly. I remember that at the time, I was having lunch at Jean Béliveau’s and he said to me: ‘You’ll see, it goes by quickly…’” On October 28, it was the Remparts’ turn to withdraw their jersey number 4 before a game at the Videotron Center.
In interview with The Press, Guy Lafleur tries to keep his spirits up, which is not so easy, given the circumstances. “There are good weeks and there are bad weeks. In general, it’s fine. I have treatments three times a month as part of a research program. I feel like a guinea pig, a bit, but I have a lot of hope…”