Their names are Alexia and Norah Tremblay and they’re six years old. They live in Les Escoumins but that didn’t stop them, and their parents, from taking a 500-kilometre road trip to Montreal to compete in their first-ever Défi sportif AlterGo on Tuesday.
The Tremblay twins managed to overcome both fear and nervousness to take part in the 50-metre wheelchair event. “Once they start racing, they won’t think about it anymore!” exclaimed their mother, Marie-Ève Morneau.
The family arrived in Montreal two days ago. It’s their first visit to the city. “It’s a great experience for the girls. It’s a chance for them to see what they’re capable of and how far they can go. It exposes them to something new and different and allows them to realize that they’re not as limited as they might have thought; that they’re able to do quite a lot.”
The two girls made the most of their physical education classes at Marie-Immaculée school to get in shape for the race. “They practiced at school a lot. I wasn’t sure how they would react to the crowd or to the other competitors. It went well and I’m proud of them. I’m really happy with what they achieved,” said their mother, visibly moved.
After hearing other families in the Quebec City region talk about the Défi sportif AlterGo, Ms. Morneau decided to block off the week of April 29 in her family’s agenda, and after hearing the cheers and shouts of encouragement that echoed throughout the multipurpose gym at the Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard, she has absolutely no regrets. “There’s a lot of yelling! It’s always been my experience that the parents of children with special needs are like one big family. It brings out the best in our kids and allows them to be proud of themselves and to push themselves further. This event is a great example of that,” she observed.
Although Alexia and Norah both have a degenerative neuromuscular disorder, sport has always played a prominent role in their lives. “I want to keep them moving as much as possible to slow down the progression of the disorder,” said Morneau. “I also want them to see that they’re able to do a lot, that they have skills and can take part in activities.”
Even though the family is more than a six-hour drive away from home, every kilometre has been worth it. “I loved it. We’ll definitely be back next year.”