• James Armstrong

Suicide prevention one kilometre at a time


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

A light shower of rain didn’t dampen the spirits of cyclists (left to right) Jean-Pierre Dugas, Guy Lavallée, Roland Guillon, Julie Lapointe, Sylvain St-Cyr and Guy de Repentigny as they set out on their journey to Newfoundland from Valleyfield in support of Le Tournant suicide prevention organization.

Six cyclists from the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region set out on a round trip road tour from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield to St. John’s, Newfoundland on Tuesday, July 11 aiming to raise funds for Le Tournant, a regional suicide and crisis prevention organization.

For Jean-Pierre Dugas, Guy Lavallée, Roland Guillon, Julie Lapointe, Sylvain St-Cyr and Guy de Repentigny, the moment they had spent weeks preparing for had arrived. “I’m happy we’re leaving today,” said Guillon as he changed his shoes before heading off to the starting line on the cycling trail at the end of Tully Street in Valleyfield.

“I’m a bit nervous because I have to speak at our first stop in Châteauguay,” added Lapointe with a laugh. Lapointe and Guillon, both avid cyclists, were instrumental in suggesting the project and making it happen.

Suicide prevention one km at a time

“We have a goal to raise $50,000 and we are not there, yet,” said Soulanges MNA Lucie Charlebois as she thanked the six cyclists, the event organizers and the crowd of family and friends that were on hand for the send-off.

“This is an organization that helps a lot of people throughout the region,” added Charlebois as she encouraged everyone to donate generously to the cause.

“There are many, many people with needs,” said the president of the organization’s administrative council, June Dubé. She noted the cycling event not only raises funds but also raises awareness about the organization and the services it provides.

PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Deputy for Soulanges Lucie Charlebois (right) thanked the six cyclists and their support team for their important community work (left to right) Gilles and Marielle Dompierre, Sylvain St-Cyr, Julie Lapointe, Guy Lavallée, Jean-Pierre Dugas, Roland Guillon, Guy de Repentigny and June Dubé.

Raising awareness along the way

According to their itinerary, the cyclists plan to arrive in St. John’s Saturday, July 28. Throughout the approximately 3,300-kilometre trip, a Winnebago provided and driven by Gilles and Marielle Dompierre will accompany the cyclists. Individual cyclists and clubs are invited to join them along their route to support the cause. Their itinerary includes stops at suicide prevention centres in Châteauguay, Rivière-de-Loup, and Rimouski to make presentations about their efforts to raise awareness about suicide prevention. They are expected to return to Valleyfield at the beginning of August.

Related events

The cycling tour is one of three fundraising events planned for the year. A second cycling event, marking the 15th Annual International Suicide Prevention Day is scheduled for Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9. The same cyclists will be following two 365-kilometre circuits, a kilometre for each day of the year, one in Vaudreuil-Soulanges and the second in Haut-Saint-Laurent. The final fundraiser of the year is a cocktail-dinner evening hosted at Domaine de la Templerie restaurant near Godmanchester. Tickets will be available through the organization.

Crisis help available

Le Tournant offers bilingual suicide and crisis prevention, re-adaptation and re-insertion services to communities across three territories Municipalité régionale de comté (MRC) Haut-St-Laurent, Beauharnois-Salaberry and Vaudreuil-Soulanges. They offer services to a population of more than 228,000 citizens 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year. The toll-free telephone number is 1-866-277-3553. For further information, visit their web site: www.letournant.org

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