T minus 4

 If you had asked me two months ago how confident I felt about enduring the physical demands of this trip, I might have seemed positive, certain and raring to go. That’s because there was still time … time to train, to prepare, to adjust.

Now that I am almost out of time, I’m not so sure. My sore knees – something that I battle to keep in check – have become a concern. My lower back, always a nerve impingement risk, is stiff and pulled. And my low blood pressure, a reaction in part to my many medications, has become increasingly bothersome. Two days ago I fainted when getting up to hug my son – totally out; I dropped like a rock – though he caught me and avoided injury.

Daunted? Defeated? Want to call this off? Not on your life. I know how big a deal this is to me, to my friends, and to the Parkinson’s community. I think how proud I feel when I hear accounts of people with Parkinson’s doing exceptional things. It is my turn now to represent the wonderful people with PD who show daily resilience and grace under difficult circumstances. And I feel powerful gratitude to my travel mates – Jim, Mike and Darlene – who not only helped devise this plan, but made it happen through sheer force of will. I sure want to make them proud.

Okay, now I’m hyped. Let’s go.

7 Responses

  1. Looking forward to seeing you guys off at Clover Point on Saturday morning. What time will you be there?? (p.s. I’m a friend of Susan Fullerton’s)

    1. We hope to get under way at 10:00 AM with some coffee and treats. We will say a few words and mingle for a bit. Than organize a ride to the Ferry at Swartz Bay. Any friend of Susan is a friend of ours! It will be nice to meet you Heather.

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Why We Are Doing it

You have probably heard of Parkinson’s Disease. You may even know people who suffer from it.  Get used to it, as Parkinson’s Disease is the world’s fastest growing neurological condition, set to double in number by 2040.

Parkinson’s Disease occurs when the brain’s dopamine-producing cells die prematurely. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter necessary for many functions of the brain and body, including muscular control, and its loss affects all forms of movement and balance, as well as non-motor functions such as memory, concentration and motivation.  Think of dopamine as the electricity in an electric car: without it, the lights dim and the wheels stop spinning.

There is currently no cure, no bio-markers to aid detection, and little is known about how it is triggered, except that Canadians are disproportionately afflicted

Most people living with Parkinson’s reduce or even discontinue regular intensive physical activity after their Parkinson’s diagnosis.  Why?  Their actual skills and abilities do not suddenly evaporate on the date of their diagnosis, though their mental fortitude often does.  As a result, many abandon the very restorative health practices, such as regular exercise, when they are needed the most.  For people with Parkinson’s, intensive exercise can boost energy, sharpen the mind, elevate spirits and keep the body mobile.  Studies indicate that intense exercise can help train the Parkinson’s afflicted brain to use dopamine more efficiently and be able to do more with less.

Let’s use the dopamine we have to build the lives we want.

What are We Doing

Canada is a big country.  It is home to over 100,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease, 9 in 10 of which suffer in silence, isolation, or without the support of a knowledgeable organization or community.  Starting in June 2022, we aim to cross our big country by bicycle to meet as many of these people as possible to personally deliver this message: get moving to stay moving.  

We start In Victoria, British Columbia and ride east through every Canadian province, and hundreds of cities and towns along the way.  Our route is approximately 8,000 km, and we expect to average 125 km a day, six days a week for approximately three months.  Our Spinning Wheels Tour team will include two riders with Parkinson’s Disease, as well as two ride-along supporters to keep things moving.  Along the way, we will be meeting with people whose lives are touched by Parkinson’s, and encourage them to get moving with us, get engaged in support communities, and to set up their own group athletics.

We are not athletes, just people with the resolve to do what it takes to live well with this disease, and to encourage others..  

Along the way, we hope to hear these words, “If they can do it, I can too.”