SEPas Impossible à l'AlpsMan


SEPas Impossible and AlpsMan

means anything is possible
May 2024
3 min.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects 130,000 people in France, with thirteen new cases diagnosed every day. For Cécile Monod, MS turned her world upside down.

The cofounder of the non-profit organization SEPas Impossible, which dedicates its time and energy to help those afflicted with this debilitating disease, has plans to stand at the starting line of the AlpsMan Half in Saint-Jorioz on the weekend of June 8th and 9th.

Sophie Monnier and Cécile Monod, cofounders of the non-profit organization SEPas Impossible

© SEPas Impossible / Sophie Monnier and Cécile Monod, cofounders of the non-profit organization SEPas Impossible

Three years ago, Cécile Monod lost her brother, Nicolas, to multiple sclerosis. The disease unfortunately got the best of the 57 year old. He was diagnosed with MS at the young age of 29, and from that point on he fought relentlessly every day to keep the pain and the handicapping effects of the disease at bay. Cecile had very close relationship with her brother, and has made a habit of moving heaven and earth to make life easier for people with MS and their families.

In 2014, with her friend Sophie Monnier, Cécile created SEPas Impossible, a non-profit organization based in Saint-Jorioz. Independent and run only by volunteers, all funds collected are used for people in the Savoie and Haute-Savoie afflicted with the disease. Cecile is steadfast about keeping the organization local.

Athletes are very involved with the non-profit

© SEPas Impossible / Athletes are very involved with the non-profit

SEPas Impossible

Based in Saint-Jorioz, the non-profit set targeted goals from the very start:

  • Build greater awareness about multiple sclerosis (abbreviated “SEP” in French),
  • Break the cycle of exclusion for people with multiple sclerosis,
  • Work to open of a center dedicated to individuals suffering from the disease and located in Haute-Savoie. 

Their perseverance led to the creation, in March 2020, of La Maisonnée du Lac, located in the upper part of Saint-Jorioz. Today it houses people with the disease who are from Savoie and Haute-Savoie. Proof positive that “nothing is impossible”! Today, there are only six care facilities of its kind in all of France, so there is still a long way to go.

Including people with MS in sports

© SEPas Impossible / Including people with MS in sports

“Before 2020, the Haute-Savoie and Savoie did not have any facilities of this type. People with MS were often uprooted and admitted to care facilities both far from their homes and unable to provide the care they needed, with all of the unintended consequences that this entails. Being far from their families also accentuated the feeling of exclusion, isolation, and distress. We experienced this unbearable and unacceptable situation with my brother,” Cécile explains.

“After six years of hard work, persistence, and tenacity, we convinced local authorities to build a medical care center specializing in multiple sclerosis; it admitted its first twelve residents in 2020. In 2023, after the second phase of construction, La Maisonnée du Lac increased its capacity to 50 beds (permanent and temporary housing, as well as day programs for multiple sclerosis and related afflictions). We are very proud of the result, which addresses a genuine need,” she adds.

Today the non-profit has an active presence, continuing to fund and organize activities within the facility (La Maisonnée du Lac) and outdoors. Activities include haircuts, equine-therapy, paragliding, sailing, cultural workshops, and off-road wheelchair races to name a few. SEPas Impossible participated in raising funds to build a gym for adaptive sports as well as a fitness trail that is currently under construction.

An outing in a joelette off-road wheelchair

© SEPas Impossible / An outing in a joelette off-road wheelchair

Hand in hand with AlpsMan

On the move for those who cannot move themselves: communication through sports plays an important role for the non-profit, and demonstrates that contracting the disease does not translate to life coming to a screeching halt. It offers people with multiple sclerosis the chance to see that they are not alone, and that they have a support system readily available.

For people with MS, physical activity is highly recommended to reduce muscle stiffness, limit the onset or severity other symptoms, and stay in shape as long as possible. The non-profit likes to show benefits of physical activity, uncoupled from the notion of performance.

Over one-hundred athlete ambassadors fly the SEPas Impossible flag on a regular basis. AlpsMan, one of the very first partners for the cause, offers the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the disease each and every year.

SEPas Impossible’s athlete ambassadors

© SEPas Impossible / SEPas Impossible’s athlete ambassadors

At the crossroads between extreme sports and overcoming everyday adversity

In just a few days, thirteen people from the non-profit will stand at the starting line for the AlpsMan to compete in three different distances: Stephanie in the half AlpsMan, and Emilie in the Sunday relay race with her husband. Both have MS.


For the grand finale, the off-road wheelchair outing on Sunday offers the opportunity for both athlete ambassadors and those with the disease to share a one-of-a-kind experience, “emotion to the tenth power” as Cécile refers to it. She is also preparing herself for another truly powerful experience, having been selected to carry the Olympic torch in Annemasse on June 23.

“We push ourselves once per year, whereas those with multiple sclerosis push themselves every day. At the very least, we owe them this.”


SEPas Impossible


sepas impossible


  • © SEPas Impossible

Journalist: Aude Pollet Thiollier

Translation: Darin Reisman