Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something

The Power of One – Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something!

July 26, 2016
Chris Ouellette
This is my brother, Chris.He’s the organizer, the motivator, the visionary behind the Vermont Cycle 4 CMT event, which is now in its 3rd year. He’s a wonderful uncle, a cherished sibling and one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know. He is dynamic, super tidy, business-savvy and always knows where his car keys are. I don’t know how he does it all; especially the part about the car keys. How is it that we are truly born from the same family?

Except for the fact that we are both extroverted and love to joke around and laugh, we have very different temperaments, preferences and personalities. If you think back to the TV show the Odd Couple, Chris is Felix and I’m Oscar. In other words, we are polar opposites, just like black is to white, yin to yang, stalactite to stalagmite.

One thing is for sure, he does not like mess. I’ll give you a few examples:

Chris – training for the Cycle 4 CMT!
Chris – training for the Cycle 4 CMT!

He has this thing about his lawn, a lawn that is green for 2 months in the summer, muddy in the spring and frozen the rest of the year. One summer afternoon, there were a lot of cars in his driveway, so I pulled up and parked the front tires of my rental car on the grass in front of the house. By his reaction, you would have thought that I did irreparable damage and uprooted all the trees on his property!

When he spotted my car, his face turned white. Left eye twitching and gasping raggedly for air, he spastically asked “Why’d you park on the lawn?” And without waiting for answer, he grabbed my keys and moved my vehicle to a safer zone. I guess I ruined his goals for a lush, emerald green lawn that summer.

Even when we were younger, he worried about the grass. Most parents have to pay their kids to mow the lawn, right? Not our parents.

As soon as the grass grew to be a little too high, Felix was out there mowing the lawn. He could not stand the unkempt look. Personally, I’m not sure I’d have even noticed if our grass turned into a field of waist high stalks. Gardening is not my thing.

Chris-a bundle of energy at 8!
Chris-a bundle of energy at 8!

Chris has so much energy and drive, it’s hard to keep up with him. Idleness is not in his vocabulary. On vacation, we all march to the beat of his drum, as he keeps a running schedule of our daily activities on his iPad. If there is a spare half hour, it gets filled. No questions asked. We always have a blast together, but after vacationing with Chris, we are usually exhausted and need yet another vacation to rest up from our annual Camp “Don’t Stop ‘Til Ya Drop.”

Over the years, Chris’ family (his wife Mia and 2 children, Lila and Warren) and my family (Gilles, Yohan and I) have made a concerted effort to regularly spend quality time together. Chris’ son, Warren and Yohan have developed a very close, brother-like relationship. And when he was younger, Warren saw that Yohan had physical limitations, but intuitively knewthat he could play a role in changing Yohan’s future by supporting CMT research. He’d often save his change and send it to the CMTA when the jar was filled. One year, instead of birthday gifts, he asked for donations to the CMTA in Yohan’s honor. He also gave several class presentations on Yohan’s CMT, to raise awareness of the disease.

Three years ago, Chris decided to extend his family’s involvement with the CMTA by organizing the first-ever Cycle 4 CMT event in Vermont. With no fundraising experience whatsoever, Chris was on a mission: he was intent on connecting Vermonter’s passion for the outdoors to CMT fundraising so that one day, in the not so distant future, Yohan and many others with CMT might also be able to enjoy simple, but pleasurable year-round activities. As a result, the VT Cycle 4 CMT was born in the summer of 2014.

Mia, Warren, Yohan, Chris, Lila
Mia, Warren, Yohan, Chris, Lila

Chris, Mia, Lila and Warren are all actively involved in the event and its mission: to support the development of new drugs to treat CMT, to improve the quality of life for those with CMT and ultimately, to find a treatment to stop the progression of this disease.

Chris and I may be polar opposites, but we’ve joined hands to conquer CMT. Bringing different skill sets to the table, we are reaching more people and making a bigger impact than ever before. As long as I do not bring food in his car (I get crumbs all over the place), peace is maintained and we can all focus on Yohan and the CMT community. We are making history!

Elizabeth and Chris Ouellette
Elizabeth and Chris Ouellette

Bottom Line: If you do one thing today, register for the event, sponsor the VT Cycle 4 CMT or better yet, sponsor my brother, Chris. All the money raised will be dedicated to the CMTA’s STAR initiative, which is changing lives, my friends, the lives of those with CMT, and in turn, their children and grandchildren. Never underestimate the power of one individual, one family, one community. We each have the power to change the future for over 2.8 million people worldwide. What are you waiting for? Click here to learn more about the event and to donate:CYCLE4CMT Website

Have you seen this video clip of Chris getting all emotional at the event? Watch this short, but heartwarming video when Yohan shows up unexpectedly:

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