Sarah Saillant-Boulinguez: “Because a smile is the best reward in the world.”
When Sarah Saillant-Boulinguez has completed her work for the day and isn’t busy with her many hobbies, she fills her time coordinating the Quebec City Walk for ALS. Here is the profile of a young woman eager to help, but most of all, to make people smile.
Talkative and committed, Sarah Saillant-Boulinguez has been involved with the ALS Society since her mother was diagnosed with ALS. Initially a volunteer for the 2011 Celebrity Softball Game, she has made many contributions since then. As the new coordinator of the Quebec City ALS Walk, Sarah stands out because of her sincerity and genuine desire to help. “For this adventure, I have an amazing team, which makes a world of difference when you manage a walk from A to Z for the first time! If you are going to take on a challenge, you might as well do it all the way!” Her creative ideas and suggestions make her a pillar of this event, attended by hundreds of people annually.
“Given the impact of such a devastating disease, usually over such a short period of time, if I have the opportunity to give, in any way, a little bit of happiness to families and those who live with the disease, I am all for it.”
Having lost her mom to ALS in 2012, Sarah understands the challenges and issues related to the disease, which makes her empathetic to those in similar situations. “Given the impact of such a devastating disease, usually over such a short period of time, if I have the opportunity to give, in any way, a little bit of happiness to families and those who live with the disease, I am all for it.” Despite the difficult times she went through, Sarah radiates a sincere happiness that transpires to her community involvement.
Her involvement with the ALS Society provides Sarah with a sense of well-being that motivates her. “In fact, I am the most selfish person on earth: I volunteer because it makes me feel good! But I know that it brings happiness to others too,” she says jokingly. Meeting people involved with the cause and hearing their inspiring stories gives Sarah the feeling that she makes a difference not only in her own life, but also in the lives of others. Volunteering brings her “an inner richness” and allows her to see life with maturity.
Sarah is saddened by the lack of interest in volunteer work and that financial compensation is often seen as more important than personal gratification. “A smile is the best reward in the world and a simple thank you enriches you,” she confides. It is not surprising that her work with the ALS Society is but a tiny part of her community involvement, which includes: Opération Nez rouge, the Royal Canadian Air Force Cadets, fundraising dinners, or a volunteer rescue team. No project is too big or too small for Sarah. For her, volunteering is “one of the most beautiful human experiences” and she firmly believes that offering one’s time is the greatest gift we can give to others and to ourselves.
Like Sarah, you too can take part in a Walk for ALS!