A trophy named in honour of a fighter
“The Chantal Lanthier Award is to be awarded to a volunteer whose remarkable contribution to our mission makes them an inspiration to others. Since her diagnosis, Chantal has advocated, heart and soul, for the rights of people living with ALS and their caregivers. This award was created to act as a perpetual reminder of her profound humanity, which has touched so many of us.”
Few are those who can claim that an award was created in their honour. Chantal Lanthier is one of those exceptional people who, through their limitless devotion to a cause, managed to engrave their names not only in our memories, but also on the plaque of a trophy.
The diagnosis of ALS that Chantal received in 2013 has not prevented her from rolling up her sleeves and finding concrete ways to face the disease. “It was in the early hours and days after the diagnosis that I realized that I would die young and that I would never get to be a wrinkled, little old lady, that I would never see my grandchildren, that my husband and I would never live out our retirement together and that my body would gradually abandon me. It was difficult. After a few months, we finally decided to get back on our feet. We decided to channel our energy, our knowledge and our skills in order to give meaning to what was happening.” A tireless advocate for people living with the disease and their caregivers, Chantal has promoted the right to respite and is deeply involved with ALS awareness and fundraising. As the founder of a series of support groups, Chantal provides a place for people living with ALS and their caregivers to meet and confide in each other, while enjoying a cup of coffee. The purpose of this initiative is first and foremost to provide respite for the participants, a concept fundamentally important to Chantal. This is the reason why, in 2014, she submitted a report to the ALS Society entitled, A real respite for our caregivers, please. A year later, the caregiver respite program was created.
“Alone, we go faster. Together, we go further.”
Sick or not, Chantal understands the importance of continuous involvement in a cause, which shows through every one of her actions. A true source of support and compassion, she is always ready to help so that the ALS Society can get closer to fulfilling its mission. “I am proud of myself, of us,” she says. The “us” inevitably includes her partner, Jocelyn, who is one of the main pillars of support for Chantal in this trying period. Chantal fights her battle against ALS through interviews, conferences, organizing annual brunches, and get-togethers for the Ice Bucket Challenge. In addition, Chantal has been a member of the Board of Directors for two years, ensuring that the Board hears directly from a person living with ALS when making decisions and seeing to the organization’s development.
For all of these reasons, Chantal has become the face of people living with ALS and the namesake of the new Chantal Lanthier Award. The award was created by the ALS Society as a way to reward a volunteer whose contribution particularly stands out. On February 11, 2016, her good friend Alain Bérard became the first recipient of the Chantal Lanthier Award during the ALS Society’s Annual General Meeting. Ultimately, Chantal’s volunteer work translates into so much more than a trophy. For her, it is a way for “the soul to grow.” As one of her favorite saying goes, “Alone, we go faster. Together, we go further.Chant