OTTAWA, Aug. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) announced today that Pierre Lavoie, founder of the Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie, is the recipient of its Award for Excellence in Health Promotion. The award recognizes individuals and organizations from outside the health sector who have made a significant contribution toward a healthy population and a healthy community.
"I am touched that my work in health promotion is recognized by an association as credible as the CMA. It has given me the energy to continue this journey. As you are aware, our family has been severely affected by a genetic disease; two of our children died. Still, we never gave up and a hard battle was fought," said Mr. Lavoie. "I truly believe that success is more about attitude than aptitude. My insistence on getting things done has always served the cause that I defend. Today I can tell you that the battle of prevention will be won through stubbornness, mobilization and education. It is only a matter of time!"
A decade ago, two of Pierre Lavoie's children died of cytochrome oxidase-deficiency congenital lactic acidosis. Mr. Lavoie turned his grief into positive action through elite athletics, bicycling around the entire Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region in 24 hours to raise awareness of the need for research into rare diseases. In 1999 he again cycled the 650-km course in 24 hours. In the years to follow, he turned his personal challenge into a major regional event to raise funds for medical research.
"The CMA's vision of a healthy population can only be achieved through the actions of like-minded individuals and organizations," said CMA president Dr. John Haggie. "We are therefore pleased to present the 2012 Award for Excellence in Health Promotion to Mr. Lavoie, whose commitment to health promotion, wellness and fitness, as well as his sense of community and social responsibility, has had a tremendously positive impact on the health of Canadians of all ages."
In speaking at schools, Mr. Lavoie found that young people wanted to participate. Because the 24-hour challenge was too demanding, he created the activity "Fais ton kilomètre avec Pierre" (Go a kilometre with Pierre) to encourage children to join him to cycle one kilometre, day or night. In preparation, participants had to complete three 15-minute sessions of physical activity a week for a month. In 2005, 40 schools entered the event with 6,300 young participants who recorded 235,000 segments of physical activity.
By 2008 the challenge, now renamed the Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie, was extended to all of Quebec. It now includes a "Get Up and Move!" contest to encourage a healthy diet as well as physical activity. Because this, too, has captured the interest of Quebecers, Mr. Lavoie's next initiative is a "Sharpen Your Grey Matter" contest to encourage young people to expand their minds by learning and staying in school.
Having raised more than $650,000 for lactic acidosis research, Mr. Lavoie has received many honours for his efforts, including the University of Montreal medical faculty's Medal of Honour.
The CMA Award for Excellence in Health Promotion was to have been presented at a ceremony held at the Shorty Brown Arena in Yellowknife on Aug. 15, during the CMA's 145th annual general meeting. As Mr. Lavoie is unable to attend the ceremony, the medal will be presented to him at a later date.
The CMA's Award for Excellence in Health Promotion was introduced in 2003. To be considered, nominees must have contributed to the improvement of health through health promotion actions, initiatives or increased public awareness. Additional information on the CMA Award for Excellence in Health Promotion, including nomination forms, can be found at http://www.cma.ca/aboutcma/awards
Previous recipients of this award include Running Room president and founder John Stanton , the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, the Club des petits déjeuners du Québec, Kids Eat Smart Foundation, MADD Canada - Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Blue Nose Marathon Organizing Committee, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Réseau FADOQ.
SOURCE: CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
For further information:
Dominique Jolicoeur, Communications Officer
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