In 2004, Luc Vilandré’s big brother Pierre got the dire news that he had ALS. The 56-year old husband and father of three was a bon vivant. Luc says Pierre loved a good debate and fondly remembers a lot of feisty family gatherings with good food, good wine and good discussions.
“Pierre was very courageous. He never complained about his verdict. Once he learned he had ALS, his goal was to spend as much time as possible with his family,” says Luc Vilandré. “Near the end, he attended a BBQ at my nephew’s. He didn’t stay long as he was very weak. We knew he didn’t have much time left. He had a few sips of beer, told a few jokes and was surrounded by the people he loved. He died that night.”
Giving back and getting back
“When my brother told me he had ALS, I immediately wanted to get involved with the ALS Society of Quebec. Within a few months, I joined the board of directors,” recalls Luc. “I firmly believe that when you have a vision and work diligently towards realizing that vision, you can make a huge difference. In 2008, Dominic Delambre (right) and I co-founded The Ride to Fight ALS. So far, we’ve helped raise over $1 million and now we are aiming for $2 million. When the Ride started, only a handful of cyclists participated. Now we are over 100 strong. If thousands of people got involved, each making a small effort, a small donation, we could literally change the world. We’d find treatments; find answers; find the cure.”
TELUS Health becomes event’s key sponsor
The ALS Society of Quebec’s 8th annual cycling fundraiser just kicked into high gear with TELUS Health announcing it will be the event’s major sponsor for the next three years. The partnership will enable the Society to reach a larger audience, increase donations and awareness and make the event even more fun. The fundraiser’s new name and logo were unveiled during a gathering on March 19 at the TELUS offices in Montreal. The Ride for ALS was renamed The Ride to Fight ALS, a subtle but significant change for those battling the neurodegenerative disease. The new, vibrantly coloured logo evokes the wheels of a bicycle while referencing the floral imagery of the TELUS Health brand.
The Ride to Fight ALS takes place August 28, 29 and 30 in picturesque Bromont, Quebec. For enthusiasts, there is a three-day, 300-kilometer ride with routes tailored for all levels of cyclists. Over 100 participants will bike over the hills and dales of the Eastern Townships. Then on Sunday August 30 there will be a more laid-back, family-friendly ride with a variety of activities along an easy-to-pedal bike path. It is a perfect outing even for those who haven’t been on a bike in ages.
“Telus is very involved in the community and is proud to be partnering with the ALS Society of Quebec and the Ride to Fight ALS, an event that just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” says Luc Vilandré, co-founder of the fundraiser, president of the Board of Directors of the ALS Society of Quebec and Vice-President and General Manager of TELUS Health.
Luc challenges other corporations, business owners, CEOs and directors to get involved. “Come to an event; talk with people who are living with ALS and their caregivers. They are so thankful for everyone’s support. It gives them hope; it makes you feel good. That is your paycheck and it is priceless.”