Sébastien Boivin—on the cusp of 40—is a shining example of courage and resiliency.

Originally from Sherbrooke, Sébastien has lived in the Charlevoix region of Quebec for 13 years, first in Notre-Dame-des-Monts and then in Grand-Fonds Nord with his former partner Pascale Sabourin.  

When he was about 30, his world came crumbling down around him: he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. “It started with numbness in one of my fingers on my left hand,” he recalls. 

A few years later, he took another hit when he found out he was suffering from severe herpes simplex encephalitis. “I wound up in a coma and was only able to move my eyes when I woke up. I couldn’t talk. I had to spend 10 long months at the François-Charron rehabilitation centre in Québec. It was like being in exile.”


Sébastien is well liked in the community. His great sense of humour and huge smile draw attention to him, especially when he’s zipping around on the streets of La Malbaie in his wheelchair.

Brother-in-law Sébastien Côté says, “To me, Sébastien is the perfect example of resiliency. He got a dose of bad luck but decided to take charge of his life.”

And nobody who knows him doubts that for a minute! Sébastien Boivin co-founded the Ultra-Trail Harricana du Canada running event with his sister Geneviève and brother-in-law Sébastien. 

Harricana will celebrate its fifth anniversary in September 2016. The international-calibre event includes various distances (125 km, 80 km, 65 km, 28 km, 5 km and 1 km), mostly through forest, and attracts runners of all levels, from beginner to elite. 

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada orchestrates a fundraising campaign through the trail running event to gather donations that are then directed to medical research, which is finally beginning to make some headway on the disease. 

After the 2015 event, organizers were able to donate $17,000 to medical science.

The three founders are resoundingly unanimous: “Harricana was intentionally created to fight multiple sclerosis.”

Before MS entered his life, Sébastien Boivin had worked in many areas, finally landing at PointCo, joining friends Enrico Bouchard and Grégoire Bluteau. He had even hosted a radio show on station CIHO in Saint-Hilarion.


Geneviève Boivin, Sébastien Boivin and Sébastien Côté, the three musketeers behind Ultra-Trail Harricana du Canada

Sébastien now lives in two places: his house in Grand-Fonds Nord and room 222 at Accueil Bellerive, an assisted living residence in La Malbaie. 

“I often go out for a spin in the mornings and evenings,” he says. “In summer, I take my motorized wheelchair to Grand-Fonds and back.” He laughs. “It’s got a really good battery.” 

He even finds the time to be involved in his community, serving as the president of the residents’ committee at Accueil Bellerive. He’s also the director of the multiple sclerosis committee of Charlevoix. 

He closes with this thought: “My greatest sources of motivation are my two sons: Zacharie, who is 9 years old, and Félix, who is 12. Life wouldn’t be worth living without them. With them in my life, I can keep smiling. I’m a fighter now.”


The original article is published in moncharlevoix.net

Translation by Katherine Akerley, Traduction Virelangue