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The Dubé brothers: Jan, left. Quinn, middle, and Liam.

John Major Photography

The donors Quinn, Liam, Jan and Rob Dubé

The Gift: $150,000 and climbing

The Cause: Charities working in Haiti

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When Michelle Dubé was battling breast cancer a few years ago her three young sons started singing her favourite songs to help ease the pain.

The family had been involved in music for years and their home in Ottawa was full of instruments. Michelle's husband, Rob, had been in a band and the boys – Quinn, now 12, Liam, 16, and Jan, 14 – all played various instruments.

"We would just pick up instruments and mess around with them," said Jan.

Ms. Dubé passed away in 2008 at the age of 38, but the boys decided to put their talents to use to raise money for cancer research. They formed a band, Brothers Dubé, and started playing mainly on the streets around Ottawa.

They changed their focus in 2010 after watching scenes from the Haiti earthquake.

"We heard about the earthquake and saw orphans," said Quinn. "We could relate to that because we lost a parent."

The trio has raised more than $150,000 for Haiti relief work so far and played with Arcade Fire during a fundraising concert. The family also visited Haiti to see how the money was being used.

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Musically, the brothers have moved beyond playing on street corners. They have done gigs at local festivals, an album is in the works and they'll be at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition next month.

Their father, Rob, says the boys have kept things in perspective, treating the band as something fun.

"I think it is an awesome vehicle to teach kids how to manage themselves and just learn about the world," he added.

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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