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New Brunswick boy with muscular dystrophy taken for motorcycle ride by veterans

Gabriel LeBlanc sits in a side car as the Dunkirk Motorcycle Unit of the Canadian Army Veterans take him for a ride.
Gabriel LeBlanc sits in a side car as the Dunkirk Motorcycle Unit of the Canadian Army Veterans take him for a ride. Dunkirk Motorcycle Unit/Canadian Army Veterans

A 12-year-old boy from Dieppe, N.B. living with muscular dystrophy got the ride of a lifetime on Wednesday evening.

Gabe Arsenault was taken for a ride by members of the Dunkirk unit from the Canadian Army Veterans motorcycle organization in Moncton.

Andy Arsenault, the uncle of Gabriel’s mother, told Global News the whole ride started when Arsenault made the suggestion of taking him for a ride.

“I just mentioned it one day if Gabe would like it, I was willing to put on a harness on him and tie him to myself and take him on my bike,” Andy said. “And one thing led to another and I decided, well it would be safer for Gabe to go in a sidecar.”

Members of the Dunkirk Motorcycle Unit, 12-year-old Gabriel LeBlanc and members of his family smile for a photo ahead of the motorcycle ride.
Members of the Dunkirk Motorcycle Unit, 12-year-old Gabriel LeBlanc and members of his family smile for a photo ahead of the motorcycle ride. Dunkirk Motorcycle Unit/Canadian Army Veterans

Due to his muscular dystrophy, Arsenault explained he cannot hold himself and has difficulty walking and if he falls, he’s unable to get up, so the safest method is by sidecar.

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Andy said he contacted another member of the Dunkirk unit, Len Tully, who has a motorcycle with a sidecar to take Gabe with him for a ride.

From there, other members of his unit also signed up to participate in the ride. About 20 bikes went on the ride with Arsenault.

Arsenault is “absolutely car crazy,” according to Andy, so getting to ride in the sidecar is an exciting moment.

“We figure the air in the face and the way the motorcycles move… we’re hoping it’s going to be a highlight of his summer,” he said.

“This was simply something to give Gabe something that he wouldn’t normally experience.”

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Gabriel was taken to the Pointe du Chene Wharf for the evening for ice cream.

“He had a blast,” Andy said.

12-year-old Gabriel LeBlanc gives a thumbs up to the camera on Wednesday, Aug. 16.
12-year-old Gabriel LeBlanc gives a thumbs up to the camera on Wednesday, Aug. 16. Dunkirk Motorcycle Unit/Canadian Army Veterans

Tully told Global News it was a great experience and they had taken him to the wharf during the last “bike night” of the year.

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“We wanted to get him out to a spot where he’d be able to enjoy everything,” Tully said.

Tully added he’d like to do rides this for more youth in the future.

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