Keeping Jacob's spirit alive

Nine-year-old younger Elliott (left) is raising money and participating in the event in memory of his big brother Jacob Tourigny along with other family and friends making up the Jacob Strong team.

This past February, 11-year-old Jacob Tourigny was diagnosed with Leukemia. He died eight days later. His family is trying to ensure that his spirit lives on.

“He was a very very special boy, he was like an adult in a child’s body,” said his mother, Karine Mainville. “He was sensitive, calm and always wanted to help. He was very special to me.”

Tourigny was passionate about skiing. His parent purchased a chalet at Mont Tremblant and he fell in love with the sport.

“He was a solitary boy, he didn’t like having too many people around, I think when he was skiing, he was alone in nature,” said Mainville. “I think being on the mountain, that was special for him.”

Tremblant 24H is an annual event where teams of 12 ski for 24 hours straight raising money for charity. Participants raise funds which are donated by Foundation 24H to support the betterment of children health and well-being. In 2018, over $4-million dollars was raised. After his family helped with the 2018 edition, Tourigny felt a strong desire to give back and lead a team of his own.

“He saw the people and thought it was cool and when he found out it was to help sick children, it touched him and he created a team for 2019,” said Mainville.

In a terrible twist of fate, just a couple months later Tourigny received his fatal diagnosis.

After a difficult grieving period, his family decided to try to live out his final dream. There will be a “Jacob Strong” team participating in this year’s 24-hour event Dec. 7 at noon at Mont Tremblant. Mainville will be on skis doing the marathon with several friends and family members.

“I’m happy it makes like Jacob’s death wasn’t for nothing,” said Mainville. “He can help other children with the funding for more research.”

So far the amount of money raised is beyond Mainville’s expectations. The goal was $50,000 and it was surpassed quickly. They’ve already reached $258,000 with plenty of time to go. Even Jacob’s 9-year-old younger brother Elliot is raising money and participating in the event.

“For him it’s a big thing to raise funds in memory of his older brother,” said Mainville. “He’s now an only child and it’s difficult for him to learn to live without his brother because they were very close.”

The event runs from December 6 to 8, 2019 and is the 19th edition. In all they’ve raised $32-million since 2001. You can check out Jacob’s brother’s donation page: https://participant.24htremblant.com/eng/users/elliot-tourigny

“We’re very happy and we’re looking forward to having a very emotional time this weekend,” said Mainville.

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