Tracy Arsenault has been an avid ATVer her entire life. Enjoying the sport with her husband Jules, their sons, wives and now their grandchildren is the ultimate family time. Tracy loves the sport so much because it means being out in nature, experiencing the beauty of our island and socializing with friends. As a newly appointed board member of the Evangeline ATV Club, Tracy says it’s important to help out. Volunteering for her means helping with events, activities and fundraising. It’s not just about the riding Tracy says, it’s all the parts and people that make it happen.
If you know Tracy then you know that a year ago after an ATV trip to the Magdalen Islands she was complaining of shoulder pain and ended up in the hospital for 3 months. The diagnosis was Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her hospital stay included treatment and rehabilitation. The disease had affected her vision and compressed the nerves on her spinal cord leaving her unable to walk. Determined as ever to get back on her bike Tracy persevered. Adjusting to her new normal meant occupational and physical therapy as well as figuring out how she could ride again! In November 2020, after a pretty rough day her nephew rang her about a SXS that he saw for sale. This wasn’t any normal bike, it was a SXS equipped with hand controls! Meaning, the bike was already geared up and fully accessible for Tracy.
Tracy tells us that she takes daily trips out in her SXS to decompress, connect with nature and it reminds her of how much she loves the sport. It’s independence, it’s a mental health break, it’s a connection to family and friends, it’s a thrill Tracy has always loved.
This past winter Tracy led the Evangeline ATV Clubs ladies night runs with an outstanding showing of 18+ bikes each time. Drawn to the sport for its social aspect this guide role couldn’t be more perfect for Tracy.
It seems Tracy never backs down from a fight and as she continues on her road to recovery she wants to encourage others to get out there and ride. Just do it, she says. She especially wants to let those with mobility issues know that “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. She’s been known to offer rides to apprehensive individuals in the hopes they’ll get hooked too! She says you’ll never regret the decision to enjoy the sport. Just make sure you get the right gear so you’re comfortable.
It would seem that Tracy’s illness has never held her back, that her intentions of recovery are clear and in focus. Pushing herself a little harder everyday and setting goals that are guiding her in the direction she wants to go. Being able to take her SXS out for a rip is an invaluable part of her therapy and provides so much more. She’s even started exploring new hobbies like sledge hockey, swimming and fat biking (a pretty cool specialized rig to explore the trails and beach).
It’s safe to say that Tracy has an amazing support system. Her family along with friends have really stepped up in her time of need. The Evangeline ATV Club hosted a two day fundraising event for Tracy with over 100 bikes taking part! The money raised has helped renovate Tracy and Jules home to make it more accessible. She remains incredibly grateful to the club and her community for their support.
Tracy’s enthusiasm for the sport is contagious and her personal story is inspiring. It brings to light some important benefits that ATVing can have on your life. Like having an outlet to decompress from everything that life is throwing at you, connecting with nature, spending time with the people that mean the most to you and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Whatever curveballs life throws, remain positive and remember there’s always a way to do the things you love!