A little less than a year ago, we announced the wonderful news that Hélène Lavoie, an Alive to Strive fitness grant recipient, received the gift of life, a kidney transplant. In May 2013, Hélène was able to start living again, rebuild her strength and celebrate the miracle of this precious gift. In fact, it was her life-long friend, Marcel Duguay, who gave her the precious gift of a kidney. You can learn more about Hélène when Marie-Eve Chainey accompanies her on the show Entre nous, to air April 9 on Rogers TV.
The first few weeks after the transplant were incredible, Hélène told us. “I had so much energy! It was amazing!” Today, she tells us about her new life with a kidney. “I feel very privileged to be able to live without being dependent on a machine. However, the side effects of some of the medications I have to take are not always pleasant. It is sometimes difficult to wrap my head around the idea that I will have to take these medications for the rest of my life,” she explained. But, Hélène is not one to complain about her situation. She sees life with her heart—full of light and joy. She is often sniggering, in the back of her mind always looking for a way to have fun, enveloping everyone around her into this bubble of happiness.
Named ambassador of the 2014 Alive to Strive race, Hélène is a true example of positive leadership. She put together a team to walk the 5K with her. Currently, her team has over 15 members and there are more to come, she assured us. The team, called “The Ambassadors”, is made up of family members and close friends. Hélène was filled with emotion when she spoke to us about the wonderful team that will be standing by her side and promoting kidney health. “They are incredible. Even those who are in really good shape told me that they want to be by my side; they aren’t there to win or to get a good time, they want to walk alongside me, everyone together. This really touched me to feel their support,” said Hélène. Her donor Marcel Duguay will be there along with his son. Some of the team members will be travelling overseas on the date of the race, but they wanted to register as team members and pay the fees in support of the cause. “The Ambassadors” will be easy to spot on race day since they will each be wearing a red and yellow scarf. To participate in the race, or to volunteer, click here.
When it comes to her illness as well as her professional life, Hélène is an example of courage and determination. A special education teacher, Hélène hopes to return to work as soon as possible. “Working with youth is my passion,” she said. She is focused on this goal and is overcoming the obstacles one at a time. Hélène’s positive attitude helps those around her to see the silver lining in a situation. “For me, it is important to give back. I was given such a wonderful gift, now it is my turn to give back. And the best part is people want to help me,” she explained. This is what makes this inspiring woman a true ambassador for the Alive to Strive race. She inspires, educates and leads by example. Bravo, Hélène! Good luck in the 5K on April 27!