Schools and Lions helping local family

Lion Francis Fryters displays another bag of pop can tabs his service club has been collecting to help two St. Albert schools help a Morinville family. – Lucie Roy Photo

By Lucie Roy

Morinville – The Morinville Lions Club have donated one-and-a-half garbage can, approximately 25 litres, of soft drink tabs to École Alexandre-Tache, one of two schools trying to help a Morinville family. The two schools, Ecole La Mission in Heritage Lake St Albert and Ecole Alexandre Tache are collecting the tabs for Morinville parents Nathalie Dufour and Eric Bouchard and their two children, Frederic and Melodie, each of whom require a vertical electric wheelchair.

Monique Lavallee, who works at École Alexandre- Tache, said the school was informed they would need more than 8 million tabs (approximately $24,000) for one vertical wheel chair. To date, the two schools have gathered approximately six 17-litre garbage cans full of the tabs.

“Our present main focus is to help Frederic get his own vertical wheelchair as soon as possible,” Lavalle said. “We want him to have the opportunity for a better life using a vertical electric wheel chair. This is a wonderful family who are very caring and loving. To have two children in the same family with Andermann Syndrome is not easy for the parents and other sibling. The family’s lifestyle requires constant sacrifices to overcome their daily challenges. It takes special parents, friends and a community to help make each day a better day.”

Lavallee took the project in hand at her own school once she heard from a co-worker about what La Mission had started. She decided to take it to the next level. Being from Morinville herself, she took the cause to heart and shared it with others in the community.

While donating blood in Morinville one night she asked if she could take the tabs off the cans for a student in the school who was suffering from Andermann Syndrome. In speaking with Lions Club member Francis Fryters at the blood drive she found a kindred spirit. Fryters also felt compelled to assist in the cause and brought it to the attention of the Morinville Lions Club. Lavallee said she is thankful for the service club’s involvement.

Once the tabs are collected, Frederic and Melodie’s parents Nathalie Dufour and Eric Bouchard will be bringing the tabs to a company who exchange the tabs for money which is then put towards items needed to make the quality of life better for someone in need.
One wheelchair has already been taken care of. Daughter Melodie received help from an organization in Fort McMurray who have donated money towards the purchase of the vertical electric wheel chair.

“After a long wait, her vertical wheel chair arrived just over a month ago,” Lavallee said. “She was so excited. Her eyes were filled with joy. We take it for granted the ability to be at eye level with people around us, but for both Melodie and Frederic, being at eye level with their peers is a luxury. It is very touching to see her at school in an upright position and cruising down the hall along with her friends. Her self-esteem definitely has been charged up in a positive way.”

But now the collection of pop can tabs continues to help Frederic obtain his chair. Tabs can be dropped off at École Alexandre- Tache l – 9B St. Vital Ave in St. Albert – Lion or by contacting Francis Fryters at 780-939-3741.


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