Yep. Feels Just Like Home



Vermont Scenery






I just spent a week in in Burlington, VT, the town where I was born and raised. The flight seemed longer than usual, which is often the case when I’m excited about returning “home.” The second leg of the journey is always made in the tiniest of aircraft’s, where I had to slouch over big time when getting to my window seat so as not to bang my head on the overhead, or in this case, in-your-face bins. Seated, the tray table arched over my long legs, refusing to lay flat.  The attendant was coming down the aisle with drinks- thank God. My throat was parched and I felt really dehydrated, so I asked her for 2 glasses of ice water. Obliging, she placed both cups on my tilted table. I was able to balance the 2 quite nicely until I didn’t. My knee jerked and the rest is history. One of the my icey drinks slid right off the back of the arched tray, spilling entirely on my right foot. Merde. That was a total “me” move. Greed gets you nowhere.


This looks exactly like the plane I took from Chicago to Burlington


Cursing rapid fire inside my head, I walked, hunch back, down the narrow aisle to the tiny bathroom. Locking the door, I sat on the toilet seat and attempted to get that shoe off, but both knees were so wedged up against the door, I could barely lift my leg.  When I finally got my clown shoe off, I struggled with the soaking wet sock, as if it were a living slimy sucker fish trying to swallow my foot whole. It just did not want to come off. I pulled and pulled and finally, the sock flew off my foot, hit the door, and slid to the very unhygienic floor. Gross. I quickly stuffed paper towel into the toe area to dry the shoe because the plane started to jolt back and forth, like a mechanical bull. Just an FYI: riding a mechanical bull is the last thing in the world I wanted to do then or ever.

Riding the waves of turbulence, I staggered back to my seat and fastened my seatbelt. I took several deep breaths, popped my earbuds in and watched the rest of Twin Peaks. About 30 minutes later, we arrived safe and sound and I felt pretty good considering the frostbite one gets from wearing a wet, now frozen sock for an extended period of time.

It was midnight when we arrived at the Burlington International Airport. I kind of chuckled when the authorities officially stuck “international” in the name of my hometown airport. I think the name changed when a once a week flight to Montreal was added to the schedule. In other words, a single flight to Canada put us on an international playing field.  Despite the big, bold name, we still arrived in a pint-sized plane, whose steps were lowered onto the pitch black tarmac for all 10 of us to debark.

Standing on the windy and ill-lit landing strip, most waited patiently for the carry-on bags. I, on the other hand, limped around in small circles, shivering, trying to get the blood flowing to my foot again.  I felt right at home when I saw the airline baggage employee. This dude, who wore a beard and mustache, his hair pulled back in a ponytail, a beanie and plaid shirt was our welcoming committee and he kindly handed us our carry-ons (which were really carry-offs because I brought it with me on the plane and the United personnel said, “Oh no you don’t!” and carried it right off again. A roller board will definitely not fit in the minuscule bin). Back to my lumberjack friend. Feeling a bond between us, I smiled and said, “Thanks, man.” He just nodded and answered, “Yep.”  It felt good to be among my own kind. Yep, it sure did.


VT dude


Despite the long and challenging start, my brother and I spent a lot of time visiting friends, family, long time event sponsors and potential supporters. Chris has the natural knack for engaging his audience, telling our story and getting people involved in our cause. He also has boundless energy and passion – it’s contagious and exhausting all at the same time.

I feel so fortunate to have grown up in a small tight-knit community whose members genuinely care about one another. Everyone greeted us with a smile, a handshake and words of encouragement. Many have met Yohan and genuinely care about him and CMT. They asked about Yohan’s progress, CMTA research and how to best support the event this year. We are so grateful to all our sponsors – all superstars in our eyes. Here are just a few with whom we met who hold a special place in my heart:

My brother, George Ouellette, who expertly takes all the pictures the day of the event. Thanks to his hard work and talent, we have clear, crisp, colorful photos of all past events, serving as memories for years and years to come.

George Ouellette:

Kevin Owens of Select Design has been a crusader for our cause since day one. His company designs our logo, makes all the tee-shirts, hats, water bottles, bike jerseys, etc.  for the event.  He’s become a good friend and the employees of Select Design are like family. The talent that pours freely from his business is incredible.

Select Design:

Spike Clayton of the Ski Rack has also welcomed us with open arms. We met with him briefly and will be offering bike support the day of the event (Mikey is the best ever); our relationship continues to strengthen and flourish. Rent your bikes here!

Ski Rack:
Mikey and Dr. Shy







Kris Nelson of Citizen Cider took the time to sit down and have lunch with us. Terrific guy, delicious food, great cider! Upon wrapping up our meeting, he even started describing CMT to another business owner (who will now sponsor us). He wowed us with his knowledge of CMT and he even pronounced “Charcot-Marie-Tooth” without stumbling or faltering. He’s providing Citizen Cider for the event!

Citizen Cider:


Chris Ouellette and Kris Nelson


After cold calling one of the owners of the Outdoor Gear Exchange several years back, Mike Donohue jumped on board and continues to provide all the help and silent auction items he can muster.

Outdoor Gear Exchange:







The overwhelming caring and support of all our friends warm my heart (and foot). Thank you for your willingness to get involved in making a real difference in Yohan’s recovery and future as well as the many others with CMT in the world.

I look forward to the Cycle (and Walk!) 4 CMT on Sunday, August 27, 2017. I hope you can support us again this year.

Wondering what you can do to help out?
Register for the
Sponsor a rider or a walker:
Join our growing list of sponsors. Email Chris Ouellette-
This year’s event is going to be the best yet, so don’t miss out. And we all deeply appreciate any and all support. Yep, we do.

Yohan Thanks the Cycle’s Sponsors: “I Will Not let You Down!”



A Shout Out To Our Sponsors and Supporters

Year after year, our sponsors generously support the Cycle 4 CMT with silent auction items as well as donations of money, time and service. A big, heartfelt thank you to all our generous sponsors, without whom the Cycle 4 CMT would not be possible. As a sponsor, you will be mentioned on our website, in our printed materials, and at the event. In short, you will get tons of exposure while supporting a worthy cause – CMT. It doesn’t get any better than that! Join our growing team of Cycle 4 CMT sponsors. Email Chris Ouellette:

Chris Ouellette and Kris Nelson of Citizen Cider

Registration is OPEN

The 4th Annual Cycle 4 CMT is open for registration! The event is scheduled to take place at the Old Lantern Inn in Charlotte, VT on August 27, 2017.

Cycle 4 CMT

This year, come out to cycle one of four beautiful cycling routes that travel through the scenic Vermont towns of Shelburne, Charlotte, and Hinesburg. All routes take cyclists over a covered bridge offering beautiful views of the Adirondack Mountains while experiencing the rolling hills and farm country of Charlotte VT.

Not a Cyclist? Then register to Walk 4 CMT:


Steve and Kathy Vandevord -Walk 4 CMT organizers

Choose from 1 of 3 short walks (1/4, ½ or 1 mile) right on the grounds of The Old Lantern Inn.


Not a walker or a cyclist? That’s okay!

Register for the After-Party here:

Register to attend the fun after-party and enjoy great food, drink, live music, friends, and family. And if for some reason you are not able to come to the event, sponsor a rider or make a donation to the event.

Over the past 3 years, the Cycle 4 CMT has raised an amazing $425,000 for CMT research that will stop the progression of CMT. It means more than you can imagine to Yohan and to our family, who will fight to the end to find a treatment for this insidious disease. Please join us again this year, on August 29, for a fun and memorable event!

Event Supporters

A Message from Yohan

Thanks for reading my story!



First Steps

Did you know that June 20th marks one year to the day of my first surgery? This means that I’ve been stuck for just about a year, at home, with the parental units. I have got to get out of here. HELP!
Nevertheless, I am feeling hopeful. On May 27, I took my first steps on the surgically repaired foot and it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. Truthfully, I was really nervous about walking. Would this surgically repaired foot full of pins and screws be able to hold my weight? Would I feel the screw in my heel or my big toe? Will the surgery be successful?

So far, so good! I’m still wearing the walking boot 24/7. I can’t put full weight on it yet, and in all honesty, I’d rather go slowly and ease into walking. I also started physical therapy last week so I have to do daily exercises to get the muscles and tendons in my foot and leg working and stretched out. The worst part is the desensitization exercises where I gently rub the skin on my foot and leg with a soft bristled brush to get my nerves to calm down. They overreact to the tiniest of stimuli; simple touch feels like pain and tickling at the same time. It’s very unpleasant.

My soft protection boot comes off this week and I finally get to put my foot in a shoe. Wish me luck. I feel pretty anxious.

Thank you for all the support, thoughts and prayers. You’ve buoyed me up when my spirits were down and now, I will not let me or you down. And don’t forget to support the Cycle 4 CMT event. You are my lifeline and never will I forget your efforts on my behalf. Here is the link to join our team:

With Love,


Register NOW for the Legendary Cycle 4 CMT AFTER Party on 8/27/17

Cycle 4 CMT – So Much More than a Cycling Event!

What sets the Cycle 4 CMT event apart from other VT cycling fundraisers? Our legendary after party at the Old Lantern in Charlotte, VT, of course! After riding, just sit back, relax and unwind in a beautiful setting with family and friends while enjoying VT brewed beer, Citizen Cider, great food (appetizers followed by a fully catered menu) and rockin’ music from the band, Leno, Cheney and Young.

In addition to delicious food, thirst-quenching drinks, and jamming tunes, our silent auction includes items you just cannot live without. There is something for everyone!

And, we are excited to announce that once again this year, we have CMT experts attending and riding to raise money to advance CMT research (Names to be announced soon). Don’t pass up this chance to talk with our CMT docs and get real-time answers to your questions!

Silent Auction items

Everyone is welcome! ALL participants, riders, and non-riders are invited to the after party upon registration. What are you waiting for?

Live Music

Move to the Groove! Leno, Cheney, and Young. This local group spends much of its time performing across Vermont to fans of rock and roll from the 60’s to today.

Great Food to Satisfy Your Post Ride Hunger.

The Old Lantern Tavern whips up some amazing food for the afterparty. Enjoy!

Always Better When Shared With Friends

Relaxing and hanging out the after party with family and friends is a highlight of the event.

A Message from Yohan
Thanks for reading my story!

The pins in my toes are out! That’s a relief. Next week, I’ll get a brand new cast which I’ll have for another 2-4 weeks. The only thing I want in the world is to walk right now. I’ve had a little too much time (11 months, to be exact) to think about the end result, but I have a good feeling about this last surgery. I’m determined to be walking this summer. My parents are great and all, but at 24, I’m ready to get out in the world, go to grad school and pursue my interest in psychology.

Thanks again for fighting for me when I am down for the count. I’m amazed and profoundly grateful for the generosity and kindness of every participant, helper, supporter and organizer. And did I ever mention that I have the best uncle ever? Thanks, Uncle Chris for your incredible energy and drive. I love you.


Why We Need Your Help

 Your contributions really are getting us closer to stopping the progression of CMT.  Please participate and register for the 4th annual Cycle 4 CMT. And bring a friend or two!

Photo credits: George Ouellette