Lavoie shares message with student-athletes
(story courtesy of BSHOF Director and Bristol Press Correspondent)
Bristol attorney Mark Ziogas, a director of the Hall of Fame (BSHOF), served as host and in attendance were student/athlete leaders from Bristol’s three high schools, Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern and St. Paul, school leaders and directors and officers of the BSHOF.
Lavoie, who moved to Bristol from Wolcott in 2000, told his story of will and determination in turning a near-death motorcycle accident in 1989 into a zest for life and the competition of sports.
A volunteer fireman when the accident took lace, one which gave him a spinal cord injury and put him in a coma where he was given his last rites, Lavoie had always enjoyed helping others and after determination and hard work, still helps those in need despite his own disability.
Lavoie, 41, was in his early 20’s when the accident took place and he spend a year in the hospital when a therapist working with him asked if he wanted to try playing sports. “But I said, how could I,” said Lavoie. He began watching others in wheel chairs playing sports and eventually he said to himself, “Hey, I can do that.”
Since, he’s been playing sports for 15 years, sports of all kinds. “Hand-cycling, golf, archery, and I started sled hockey two years ago.” said Lavoie. “This year they wanted me to try water skiing.”
One day , Lavoie saw a group of wheel-chaired people who appeared to have worst physical problems than he and found out they mad Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.), a cronic neurological disease which involves the central nervous system, specifically the brain, spinal chord and optic nerves. It’s a disease which can cause problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance sensation and mental functions.
they told me about a bike ride they do and I tried it, and of course, was hooked again on another sport,” said Lavoie.
“I just keep going and going. I get tired, but when I see them still going, I keep going and going.”
He now takes part in an annual two-day, 150-mile hand cycle race where proceeds benefit those with M.S.
“I usually do 125 to 150 (miles) in training,” said Lavoie. “And, I like the hills. I’m smaller than most of the other guys and they really come down the hills fast, but then going up the hill I pass them out.”
Following his talk, Lavoie answered questions from those in attendance while reiterating the point hew was making. “Whatever you do, don’t give up,” said Lavoie. “I was close to being a vegetable. I think of what I was and what I am now. “That keeps me going.”