From the medical archives of the CIUSSS to the dunes of Morocco

Lynne Fontaine and Caroline Melanson
Lynne Fontaine and Caroline Melanson

Throughout the year, Lynne Fontaine and Caroline Melanson do whatever is necessary to safeguard information about the users of health care and social services in our CIUSSS. But for one special week this fall, they’ll be making an extra effort on behalf of some of those same individuals—specifically, women who have been touched by breast cancer.

From October 31 to November 5, Ms. Fontaine and Ms. Melanson will be half a world away from their home base as medical archivists in Pavilion C at the Jewish General Hospital. They’ll find themselves—along with more than 300 participants on other all-female teams—plotting a series of routes through the Moroccan desert in a competitive trek known as the Rose Trip.

Ms. Fontaine says she decided to become involved, because she wants “to prove to my nine-year-old daughter that no matter what a woman’s age, physical condition, strengths or weaknesses may be, she can accomplish incredible challenges, while supporting breast cancer research.”

“This is a cause that speaks to me,” Ms. Melanson states. “It will also allow me to try something new, to grow, to blossom, to get to know myself better and, ultimately, to build relationships with my teammates.”

Entre deux dunes logo
Entre deux dunes

Their journey won’t be an easy one. Every day, each of the teams must reach a particular destination by travelling a specific distance through the desert. The women, who come from Quebec and France, must find their way by relying on supportive orienteering, armed only with a compass, a guidebook and sturdy hiking boots.

Joining Ms. Fontaine and Ms. Melanson on their six-member team (known as Between Two Dunes) will be Julie Beauvilliers, a Communications Specialist in the CIUSSS’s Department of Communications and Media Relations. A portion of the funds raised through this challenge will be donated to finding a cure for breast cancer.

As well, the Rose Trip will be the latest occasion in which the lives of the two medical archivists have overlapped. Coincidentally, both attended Ahuntsic College, where they earned a medical records diploma, although they did not make each other’s acquaintance at that time.

However, they both ended up at the JGH, with Ms. Melanson becoming a member of staff in 2007, followed by Ms. Fontaine in 2015.

They quickly found a passion to share: dragon boating. Ms. Fontaine, who had been practicing for some time, encouraged Ms. Melanson to try it. It has since become a source of joy for them, with the sport motivating them to spend time outdoors, enjoy the landscape of the Lachine Canal, relieve stress and push themselves to develop as athletes.

In July, Ms. Fontaine competed at the Canadian Dragon Boat Championships in Regina. She and her team have also been chosen to participate in the World Dragon Boat Championships in 2020 in Aix les Bains, France.

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To follow the adventures of the Between Two Dunes team visit:

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