The Adaptive Sports Foundation and its happiness squad

Nathalie Rivard 

The Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF) restarted its programs in full in January after a two-year hiatus because of the Pandemic. The Foundation’s winter activities resumed with a weekly ski program at Owl’s Head every Sunday, a program in Bromont Fridays and Saturdays, some school activities at Orford, activities at Stoneham, Massif du Sud, St-Bruno and Vallée du Parc. A group of volunteers even spent two days in Gaspesia at the end of February to allow the region’s residents to enjoy two days at Mont Béchervaise in Gaspé. Among the last year’s novelties is the mountain bike pilot project in the fall of 2022, with the acquisition of two 100% electric three-wheelers and a new paragolfer that will be available in the summer of 2023. 

The ASF is about activities that promote the inclusion of people with disabilities through sport, but above all, it is about human stories where participants can enjoy sports with their families. An accident or a disability often disrupts the family dynamic. The ski programs allow them to put some normalcy and happiness back into their lives. As some participants have told us, when they participate in sports with the ASF, they forget about their disability for a few hours. Many of the participant’s parents or spouses become volunteers and can become drivers or assistants outside of ASF activities, thanks to some equipment loans. 

Among the stories that touched the winter of 2022 was the one of Lou Bernard, a bubbly 13-year-old girl with brain cancer. She was at the end of her life, and her dream was to ski. As the ASF is a happiness squad, many volunteers of the Foundation, including the director Steve Charbonneau, rallied to help her realize her dream. Several family members were present on that March afternoon, even her aunt, who had a broken ankle, was able to join them thanks to a volunteer who put her in an adapted chair to allow her to enjoy this moment with her niece. Young Lou passed away last July and will be among the honorees at the annual Silence Run on March 5th in memory of those lost during the past year. 

The Foundation needs volunteers and funds to offer all its activities. Anyone who would like to join the activities of this dynamic team can visit the site to become a volunteer or donate. In addition to putting smiles on the lips of the participants, your heart will grow fonder for being part of the happiness squad. 

A father who volunteers with the foundation to ski with his daughter. Photo : Nathalie Rivard
Lou Bernard and her family with volunteers of the Foundation. Photo: Nathalie Rivard