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Inclusion through sports

“Blind trust”

Meet Lyse Veilleux and Stephanie Carrasco, both members of the Association des Sports pour Aveugles du Montréal Métropolitain (ASAMM), during their practice of outdoor activities such as snowshoeing, running, and walking at Michel-Chartrand park in Longueuil on February 26th, 2020.

At the age of 27 years old, Lyse gradually lost sight because of a genetic condition leading to blindness called retinitis pigmentosa. Now 63, she joined the association 2 years ago to discover new activities and meet new people.

During the winter, most of the sports offered by the organization consist of walking, running, snowshoeing, and skiing, whereas the summer season offers activities such as swimming, running, and biking. This is the best time to try a new activity: snowshoeing!

Always physically active, Lyse had never done snowshoeing before due to the many obstacles that blindness adds to one’s everyday life. Indeed, the simplest activities such as walking in a park become very complex due to the loss of visual cues, but one of the greatest difficulties still lies in the feeling of exclusion and the widespread preconceived idea that blindness (or any handicap) is for a fact a weakness.

Many sports clubs are not accessible to people with disabilities which constitutes not only a barrier to their social inclusion but this non-mixing between sighted and blind people in sports also prevents the evolution of mentalities, of the general public’s awareness, and contributes again and again to marginalizing blind people.

Lyse believes that we all need to trust more. Even though she has always trusted people very easily, she highlights that you need confidence in yourself in order to trust others and she laughs about the so-called “blind trust” that is essential to living life to the fullest.