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Rugby star for the Gee-Gees

Photo Credit: Robert Paterson

Between varsity rugby, working at a casino, organizing charity events, training for triathlons, and second-year civil law studies, Afton Maisonneuve has been keeping busy.

Maisonneuve got a bachelors degree in international development and globalization at the University of Ottawa in 2009. She was also working full-time then, and had no time for sports.

Now that she’s in her graduate studies, Maisonneuve may not be any less busy than before. But that hasn’t made her put sports on the back burner.

‘‘I figured this time around I’d try out for the rugby team,” she says. “I used to play in high school and I really loved it.’’

Although she’s new to the roster, Maisonneuve is the team’s eldest       member, prompting some of her teammates to call her the mom of the team.

‘’Sometimes I can be a bigger kid than them, but I see my teammates more as sisters than daughters,” she says. In any case, it’s a family she loves spending time with.

When she’s not spending her time at the U of O for her studies, or for rugby, you can find her at the Casino Lac Lémy where she hosts as many as three card games during her shifts.

She also dedicates a lot of time to Le Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie charity, which promotes active and healthy lifestyles, especially among children, and funds research to find cures for childhood diseases, most notably lactic acidosis.

Le Grand Défi itself is a 1,000-km bike ride that starts in the Saguenay, Que., region and ends in Montreal. Thousands of cyclists participate in the Défi. Last year, Maisonneuve biked 400 km for her team.

To raise money for Le Grand Défi, she organizes a two-day, 320-km casino bike run from the casino to Mont Tremblant and back. Last year, there were 150 participants. Maisonneuve is hoping to attract 300 this year. Her team raised $11,000 for Le Grand Défi, and they’re hoping to surpass that amount this year.

As if rugby, law school, work, and charity work were not enough, Maisonneuve followed in her brother’s footsteps and began competing in triathlons.

‘’My brother is an elite athlete. He’s in the Canadian navy, and he does triathlons,” she says. “While spectating one of my brother’s events, I thought hey, I could do this, I already bike and I can run.’’

Despite it all, Maisonneuve still manages to get some downtime to herself to watch movies and read, which she deservedly calls “a great escape.”