The Canada Day Organizing Committee has been hard at work raising funds for this year’s Canada Day festivities. A Valentine’s Day draw, just one of the group’s fundraising initiatives, took place on February 11th. The draw raised approximately $1,400. The first place prize, donated by the McIntosh Country Inn and Conference Centre, included accommodations and dinner for two. Bill and Beverley Aleck were the lucky winners of the first place prize. Carolyn Abrams won the second place prize, a $150 gift basket from Riley’s Valu-Mart. Bill Tupper took home the third place prize, a Valentine’s dinner for two at the Upper Canada Grill. The winners gathered on February 13th to collect their prizes. Hatherall, owner of Riley’s Valu-Mart, said, “we’re thankful for everyone’s contribution towards the fireworks and we’re hoping for another great celebration this year.”
With his goal to “inspire people to live life to the fullest, no matter what challenges they face”, Sebastian Sasseville took time out from cooling his heels in a pond at the Upper Canada Campground on Wednesday, May 21 to talk about diabetes and how his diabetes has “been a vehicle for growth”.
Sasseville, is on a 7,500 km solo run, ‘Outrun Diabetes’ across Canada, a run that started in St. John’s Newfoundland on February 2, and will wrap up in Vancouver in November.
A native of Quebec City, 34-year-old Sasseville was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was 22. “I was your typical college kid, enjoying life. I was probably spending more time in a pub than in a gym.”
“With Type I diabetes, there was nothing I had done wrong.”
From day one he says he started eating better and getter exercise. “My diabetes became a vehicle for personal growth, and I decided to make the obstacle something good.”
Six years ago, Sasseville became the first Canadian with Type 1 diabetes to summit Everest. He then got involved in Triathlon events and eventually Ironman Triathlon. “I flirted with ultra running and in 2012, I participated in the 250 km Sahara Race in Eygpt.”
“I have just kind of built my abilities and confidence along the way. I want people to know I was not an athlete. I wasn’t good at sports. People need to know it has been done with work and dedication. I don’t want anyone to look at my story and think I am a gifted athlete.”
After Everest and the Sahara, Sasseville says he began to think about running across Canada, how long it would take and how many cities he would go through. “It started with a dream. I was looking for a good way to inspire people and I was looking for a new challenge. It was about athletics, but also about raising awareness. So I decided to commit to it and here we are.”
Sasseville kicked of his ‘Outrun Diabetes’ run on February 2, in Newfoundland. “It was a cold first two months. I picked the worst winter in 15 years for storms and cold. We took about six weeks to get across Newfoundland, and when I got on the ferry I was thinking we were done with winter.” But that wasn’t the case as winter held on through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and he even ran in snow in late April when he crossed the border into Quebec.
Sasseville runs 40 km per day for three consecutive days and then takes one day off. “Today, (Wednesday, May 21 from the Upper Canada campsite to Iroquois) was a rough day. My sleep wasn’t optimal and sometimes I am just off. So today it took longer.”
“So far so good, but I am definitely feeling fatigued. I’ve been running 3.5 months. It’s not easy. I wear an insulin pump, so very much like the run, there are good days and bad days. But my diabetes is very much under control.”
He points out that people with diabetes need good sleep, good nutrition and exercise. “Obviously, I am probably doing too much, but exercise for people with diabetes should be viewed the same as their medication.”
Since the February start, Sasseville has been accompanied by Robert St. Martin. They will be joined by one other volunteer through the upcoming busy stretch through Ontario to Windsor.
The run is in segments and accommodations are set up in the middle of the segments. They were welcomed by David and Ruth Wells to the Upper Canada Campground on Sunday, May 18. On Wednesday, Sasseville ran to Iroquois and then returned to the campground. Thursday he would pick up the run from Iroquois on and the team was to move to forward to the next base camp in the Thousand Islands area.
David and Ruth have been wonderful here. It’s totally free of charge and that is what has been wonderful with this project. People like David and Ruth have reached out to help. It’s really amazing.”
There are 3 million people living with diabetes in Canada, says Sasseville, and 90 percent are type II which can be avoided or delayed. “My goal is to inspire people to live life to the fullest, no matter what the challenge they face. It’s about overcoming obstacles, it’s about making the obstacle your friend. My diabetes has been a great vehicle for growth.”
“That is what is driving me. The cause and the people who are at the centre of it.”
Major sponsors for ‘Outrun Diabetes’ are Animas Canada, One Touch, Nova Nordisk, Biotherm Homme and 2XU.
“They believe in the vision and they are making it happen. They have put together events in various communities, and are phenomenal partners. They are making the run accessible to everyone.”
The new roadside sign design has been scrapped by South Dundas council. Council narrowly defeated a motion at the April 2, council meeting that would have allowed South Dundas’ roadside signs to be replaced with new redesigned signs.
South Dundas, in partnership with South Stormont, commissioned a $10,000 study to redesign the signs to include the shared Upper Canada Region branding and to have a uniform appearance across the region.
South Stormont council approved the new design at their March 11 meeting.
The new sign design removes the images that were featured on past designs, including the McIntosh apple from hamlet signs throughout South Dundas and the ship that is featured on the 401 exit signs at Morrisburg and Iroquois.
“There are no images in order to ensure that the name (South Dundas) is relayed effectively without any clutter,” said South Dundas economic development officer Nicole Sullivan.
“What we wanted is for our signs to be timeless. Images and pictures tend to fade and soon become outdated. That’s why we went with only text.”
“If you have graphics, you have to pick one, and then you have effectively pigeon-holed your community,” said Sullivan.
The recommendation to change the names on the 401 signs to South Dundas from Iroquois and Morrisburg was done to align South Dundas’ greater marketing efforts.
“If we want name recognition, it needs to be consistent,” said Sullivan. “We’re marketing the whole South Dundas community, not just Iroquois and Morrisburg.”
The majority of council was not swayed by Sullivan’s arguments.
Council members had various ideas about what should be on the signs such as images and logos, but the majority agreed that they did not like the roadside sign design they were presented at the March 5 council meeting by consultant Tom Graham of T.D. Graham and Associates.
Councillor Archie Mellan said that an image, like the McIntosh apple, serves a purpose. “It grabs your attention.”
Councillor Evonne Delegarde agreed. “We might be missing the boat if we eliminate graphics from our signs,” she said, adding that she has had no positive feedback on the new design.
“I don’t like the new design,” said South Dundas councillor Jim Graham.
“To me the design is plain and institutional. I like the signs we have with the apple and the boat.” He added that he has been asking people about the new sign design and that he has not had anyone say they like it.
“People don’t like change,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Jim Locke.
He was satisfied with the sign design suggested by the consultants, who were able to explain the reasoning behind the choice of this new design.
“We partnered with another municipality to do this, and here we are not happy,” said Locke.
South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds was swayed by the consultant’s arguments in favour of the new design, especially of using the medium to promote the Upper Canada Region brand.
“This branding has been on the shelf too long not to give it a try,” said Byvelds.
“The signs on the 401: I am of the firm belief that it is time to make them South Dundas signs,” said Mayor Byvelds.
“We are South Dundas council and we need to stick together and emphasize that point. We have to start thinking of South Dundas as one, and it needs to start at this table. It is not just Iroquois and Morrisburg and the rest. Yes, the new sign design is very plain but the apple and the ship are not unity. That’s just more division. South Dundas is unity.”
“This is our opportunity to go forward with the Upper Canada Region brand, to promote South Dundas and to work with South Stormont,” he added.
“I have no problem with using the South Dundas name and the Upper Canada Region. I fully support the branding,” said Councillor Graham. “I am not happy with the design that was presented, and I don’t have to accept it.”
“What do we do, scrap it?,” asked Deputy Mayor Locke.
The apparent answer to his question was yes as council voted to defeat the motion to accept the new sign design.
“I am not sure of our path forward from here,” said Mayor Byvelds. “Now we have no signs, and no budget to pay for a redesign.”