Six riders from the Greater Victoria area are cycling 650 kilometres throughout B.C. this month to raise awareness and funds for families living with ALS.
Inspired by a friend who recently lost her father to the disease, the group kicked off their ride in Kamloops last Wednesday and will be finishing in Hope on Saturday in Memorial Park.
“Cycle of Hope has been my way of healing from the loss of my dad from this devastating disease,” said Cindy Lister, the rider behind the event.
“My goal is to raise awareness and much needed funds to find a cure for ALS.”
ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed.
According to the ALS Society of Canada, approximately 2,500 – 3,000 Canadians over the age of 18 currently live with ALS. The disease also claims the life of two or three people every day in Canada.
David Cook, a silver medalist in sailing at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, is experiencing first-hand the effects of ALS and has been diagnosed with a form 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,” he said.
The inaugural ride will become an annual event open to the public in 2013.
Mayor Susan Johnston is looking forward to it bringing more people to the Hope area.
“We see many different groups coming through Hope over the years and we are always happy to welcome them to our fine town,” she said.
“As an annual event we hope to see more riders enjoying what Hope has to offer.”
For more details on the ride, or to donate to the team and ALS Canada, visit www.cycleofhope.ca.