She’s a volunteer for Ottawa Public Health's smoke-free youth initiative, the Special Olympics, Roger's House and at libraries and blood donor clinics.

 

She fundraises for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and practices and teaches Jiu-Jitsu. In May, she was named the city’s youth citizen of the year.

 

And next month, Orleans resident Mélissa Brunet can add torchbearer to her list of accomplishments.

 

A biomedical sciences student at uOttawa, Brunet, 19, will be the City of Ottawa’s first torchbearer for the 2010 Olympics when the torch comes to the capital on Dec. 12.

 

At about 2:16 p.m., Brunet will run the torch to Marion Dewar Plaza in front of city hall, where officials will roll out the red carpet to greet her.


The route through Ottawa will cover roughly 75 kilometres with more than 220 torchbearers taking part.


With school and all her extracurricular activities, Brunet doesn’t typically get a lot of time to watch the games, but will try to catch hockey, her favourite event, and will “keep up on Canada’s medal count for sure.


“I was really surprised and really honoured,” Brunet said of being chosen. “It’s so neat. To get rewarded is always an extra that I don’t expect. To see the difference I make is something that I cherish, so I don’t need all these kinds of things to keep me motivated. To have this honour is the cherry on top of the cake.”


To Brunet, the torch is about more than sports.


“It’s something that unifies the country,” she said. “It’s a symbol of peace.


“And to represent people in this community means something to me.”


Brunet’s parents, Lorraine and Normand Brunet, are “very excited” for their daughter.


Normand Brunet plans on getting “lots of pictures” when Brunet carries the flame to city hall.


The 45,000-kilometre Olympic torch relay lasts 100 days, culminating with the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron during the opening ceremonies in Vancouver in February, said Mayor Larry O’Brien.