(fr)

ARUNDO

AN OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH CYCLING EXPEDITION

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In Support of:

A 2,200 km bike ride through the Quebec countryside to connect with the land, and to reconnect with oneself. Diagnosed with Axial Spondyloarthritis, Charly, accompanied by her partner Tony, is embarking on a challenge to raise awareness and shed light on this autoimmune condition, in search of a new way of adapting.

Between pain and recovery, there's a path called ACTION.

3 CYCLISTS

Charly, her partner Tony, and Richard (director)

2200 KM

From Ottawa to Percé, the team will cross the Quebec countryside covering 30,000 m of elevation gain, with 82% of the trails unpaved.

500,000+ PEOPLE

are currently diagnosed in Canada, and thousands more are waiting to be diagnosed

1 DOCUMENTARY FILM + CONFERENCES

a feature-length version for television, and a shorter one for film festivals

2,200 km on the QcBT

From Ottawa to Percé

Embark on this inspiring adventure with us!

THE CONTEXT

”Passionate biologist, adventure guide, athlete, artist and storyteller, my life is a subtle blend of nature, ecology, outdoor sports, travel and human interaction. It has always been grounded in movement. And yet… 3 years ago, everything changed. Intense back and pelvic pain grounded me. I was diagnosed with Axial Spondyloarthritis (SpA), a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that attacks the spine and pelvic joints, causing acute daily pain that makes even the simplest movements difficult, and can lead to disability.

I never thought walking or running would ever be a challenge. The pain is now present with every movement. My emotional wellbeing has plummeted, and my difficulties in day-to-day life have taken their toll on the people around me. I feel lost. But despite it all, I hang in there. Movement, though it may be painful, is the key to a possible remission, combined with the right biologic therapy. 

If I can’t walk for long, I can ride my bike. To come to terms with illness, I felt the need for a pilgrimage of reconnection and awareness. 

Because the bravest people are often the ones who fight battles we don’t even know we’re fighting. So, I embarked on a mission off the beaten track, in search of my new potential and to show that it’s still possible to achieve great things. To understand how I can adapt to this new burden and make it lighter. “

-Charly

THE CONTEXT

”Passionate biologist, adventure guide, athlete, artist and storyteller, my life is a subtle blend of nature, ecology, outdoor sports, travel and human interaction. It has always been grounded in movement. And yet… 3 years ago, everything changed. Intense back and pelvic pain grounded me. I was diagnosed with Axial Spondyloarthritis (SpA), a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that attacks the spine and pelvic joints, causing acute daily pain that makes even the simplest movements difficult, and can lead to disability. I never thought walking or running would ever be a challenge. The pain is now present with every movement. My emotional wellbeing has plummeted, and my difficulties in day-to-day life have taken their toll on the people around me. I feel lost. But despite it all, I hang in there. Movement, though it may be painful, is the key to a possible remission, combined with the right biotherapy.

If I can’t walk for long, I can ride my bike. To come to terms with illness, I felt the need for a pilgrimage of reconnection and awareness.

Because the bravest people are often the ones who fight battles we don’t even know we’re fighting. So, I embarked on a mission off the beaten track, in search of my new potential and to show that it’s still possible to achieve great things. To understand how I can adapt to this new burden and make it lighter. ”

-Charly

GALLERY

THE OBJECTIVE

  • To reconnect with one’s own environment, and above all with the new physical condition imposed by the disease;
  • Show that movement and the outdoors are valuable remedies for autoimmune diseases;

  • Inspire the community, and promote physical and mental health;

  • A national fundraiser in support of the Canadian Spondyloarthritis Association, to help thousands of Canadians affected by autoimmune diseases.

Charly will be accompanied by her partner Tony, an adventure guide, and Richard, a filmmaker and photographer friend who will document their adventure in a film for festivals and television.

THE TEAM

CHARLY

Charly is an eco-biologist, adventure guide, performer and artist/illustrator. A highly-skilled and multi-talented athlete from an early age, nature, outdoor sports and travel have been a constant feature of her life. For some time now, she has been devoting herself to her career as an adventure guide with her partner and as a columnist, and in 2020 co-founded the women’s outdoor organization Au Coeur de la Tornade. Having begun biologic treatments a year and a half ago, her health forces her to continually rewrite her life, while preserving the essentials: her loved ones, nature and adventure.

TONY

Tony Charest is a certified adventure guide with a passion for adventure. Owner of the canoe-kayak company Zone Aventure and director of the SEBKA organization (rustic camping, sea kayaking, climbing, hiking and fatbike), he is a true reference in the field of adventure sports in the Lower St. Lawrence region. He is a safe pillar on which any budding athlete or adventurer can rest. With him, there’s always a solution, always a smile.

RICHARD

Richard Mardensis a filmmaker with a passion for adventure, the marine environment, and people. He has traveled the world working on a variety of scientific studies in marine biology and on adventure expeditions to raise awareness of environmental issues. Filmmaking has become his second language. His aim is to share the beauty of nature and man’s relationship with it.

THE DISEASE

Axial and ankylosing spondyloarthritis (SpA) is an autoimmune disease affecting mainly the spine, and afflicting millions of people worldwide. It can have devastating effects on quality of life. It is more common than multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and often strikes people in the prime of their lives. Even athletes like me, who live at 100,000 miles an hour.

Yet most people have never heard of it. Because it’s almost invisible and, above all, very unknown. But the lack of awareness among the public and among health professionals comes at a high cost. It can take 7 to 10 years to receive the right diagnosis of SpA, and sometimes longer to find the right treatment. Those affected suffer greatly. Follow-up is long and the treatments very costly. This disease affects over 500,000 people in Canada alone. 

Patients living with axSpA have to cope with the difficult realities of a chronic disease, the impact of delayed diagnosis, medication and treatment, and the psychological burden of the disease.

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