Hugo Lambert, a Quebecois by adoption, crossed Canada to raise funds for research into ALS, or “Charcot’s disease,” and to mourn his mother.
The virtues of the bicycle for health, whether physical or psychological, continue to prevail with constantly renewed evidence. Bicycling it is known to oxygenate the body, stimulate the immune system and put in order sometimes too confused thinking.
If Hugo Lambert, who has lived in Montreal for eight years, has finally decided to cross Canada by bicycle, it is to unravel the interweaving of grief. On July 19, the 24-year-old left Vancouver to attack the Rocky Mountains, bound for the Atlantic. A journey of 5,000 kilometers.
His bike was loaded like an Andean llama. She brought her clothes, her tent, her bathroom and kitchen equipment there. Her backpack would have seemed incongruous. There she placed a laminated poster, it could be read under a large QR code “I’m raising money for ALS, please support me.”
ALS in the French version is “amyotrophic lateral sclerosis” commonly called Charcot’s disease (and in the Americas, Lou-Gehrig’s disease, named after a famous baseball player). It is a neurodegeneration that causes a progressive but total muscular paralysis, and that, in the current state of medicine, condemns those affected.
The effort to escape emotions.
Some eighteen months before his departure, Hugo had the pain of seeing Laurence, his mother, taken away too young. “Strangely, he said, this was what made me decide to finally embark on this journey that I had planned for a few years. Not only in support of the sick, but also because he knew he could help me. It was a struggle not to let my emotions get the best of me. A kind of update: in two months I experienced everything that I hadn’t experienced in two years of mourning. »
Emotions, in turn, carry you and slow you down. “I had happy moments and others less. In the Rockies I was very busy on the slopes, very focused. The hardest part was crossing Saskatchewan and Manitoba, vast plains with endless straight lines. That’s where it hit me. I cried a little, but they were tears of relief, and they confirmed the meaning of my trip. »
The hardness of the effort occupies the body and the conscience, the wounds heal in silence. And we focus on the many encounters we have along the way when traveling by bike. “These people who, questioned by the poster, strike up a conversation, evoke an ALS patient they have met or have come across, offer you a coffee”.
And the meetings that we dread, that occupy the mind no less. “In Canada, when you travel, you have to worry about brown and black bears. Bears are dangerous in some hill stations as they get used to humans. In the field, the risk is lower. »
Beyond personal grief, the goal was to raise awareness of ALS and raise funds for research. The U-GO TRAVEL association raised nearly 45,000 Canadian dollars -approximately €34,000- paid to the ALS Society of Quebec as well as the Association for ALS Research of France.
After 5,000 km on the saddle, he has returned to Montreal for two weeks. She needed a break to put the finishing touches on her dissertation in criminology. But, strictly speaking, her journey is not over. She will leave again in the spring or in the next few days, depending on the speed of her college work. Address Nova Scotia and Halifax, in the far east of the country. The sooner the better, then I would have “the joy of enjoying the colors in Bajo San Lorenzo. »