Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN
VICTORIA (ISN) – Six riders from the Greater Victoria area are set to cycle 650 kilometers throughout B.C. to raise awareness and funds for families living with ALS.
Starting in Kamloops August 8th and finishing in Hope August 18th, the Victoria riders were inspired by a friend, Cindy Lister, who recently lost her father to the disease.
“Cycle of Hope has been my way of healing from the loss of my dad from this devastating disease. My goal is to raise awareness and much needed funds to find a cure for ALS”, said Lister the rider behind the event.
The self-acclaimed “Dreamer” of the team, Lister noted at today that, “my dream is that the Cycle of Hope will raise significant funds so we can bring hope to ALS by helping researchers find a cure. Ultimately my dream is for your family not to have to go through what my family had to go through with my Dad.”
Cindy Lister, the “Dreamer” behind the Cycle of Hope event addresses the media Tuesday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Lister introduced her Cycle of Hope teammates at the press conference and they include Trish Fougner, Robin Farrell, Sara Wegwitz, Shawn McKean, Brenda Houston-Paquette and Coach JP Robinson.
Lister also highlighted the Crow that is part of the Cycle of Hope logo and team uniforms. “The Crow represents my Dad. It’s my Dad’s courage and his wisdom, and it also represents an area that we will be travelling on – the Crowsnest Pass – which we will need to face with courage because it is very hilly.”
Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin was also on hand to support the six riders in their efforts as Victoria citizens. “It’s so appropriate that we launch this event during ALS awareness month and also so inspiring when Victoria residents rise to the occasion. Cindy’s team will go far in raising much needed funds for ALS.”
Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin was on hand to offer his support to the riders, including Robin Farrell of KOOL-FM (right) (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Paralympic athlete, David Cook, is experiencing firsthand the effects of ALS. Cook, a silver medalist in sailing at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, has been diagnosed with a form of ALS, similar to Steven Hawkins.
The disease has affected his legs, arms and core muscle groups. “ALS is an illness that deteriorates the body over time but what it can’t do is take away my determination and desire to continue raising hope for other families dealing with ALS”.
David Cook gives an inspirational address to those in attendance Tuesday while Cindy Lister looks on (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Cook went on to emotionally detail how he came to learn he had ALS and how he has dealt with the gradual changes in his health, but noted that, “I’ve been through a lot in life, I have been successful in life and I feel I have lived a very fulfilled life.”
“I don’t want you to feel sad for me, as the human spirit is an incredible thing. If I can give you any advice it would be life is not a right, but it is a privilege. You need to make the most of what you’ve been blessed with. Don’t underestimate the power of a positive attitude. Goals are great and without goals in life, I would not have accomplished a tenth of what I’ve accomplished. Most importantly, go and make the most of your life and go and make the most of today and make a change.”
The inaugural ride will become an annual event open to the public in 2013. Hope Mayor Susan Johnston is pleased to have the event finish in her town. “ We see many different groups coming through Hope over the years and we are always happy to welcome them to our fine town. As an annual event we hope to see more riders enjoying what Hope has to offer.”
David Cook and Mayor Fortin pose with the Cycle of Hope team at Trek Cycling on Tuesday (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
The six riders are holding several fundraising events and opportunities prior to their departure including an on-line auction with a signed jersey from Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal at www.gobid.com; a family-fun event at the Trek store in Victoria on July 1st and a fund-raising day at JJ’s Restaurant in Brentwood Bay.
For more details and to donate to the team and ALS Canada, visit www.cycleofhope.ca