Crossing Canada on my bike has been a dream of mine since 2014. That year, I participated in my first ever MS Bike event in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. There, I met hundreds of MS Bike participants, many who had MS. I heard a number of inspirational stories, including of their own epic bike rides, and even made a few friends along the way. Unofficially, I had joined the cycling community but ‘officially’ I was hooked. In the past 10 years, I have completed 17 additional MS Bike tours across Ontario and in several US States and, in the process, have raised over $110,000 for MS Canada.
In 2013 I was diagnosed with MS. At the advice of my neurologist, I started on MS medication
and did not change my life's “plan”. Like other Canadians impacted by their own health crises, I reassessed what was important to me. Suddenly, living an active, healthy and purposeful life came more sharply into focus. Riding my bike was an activity I could do with friends. It was also an activity that gave me a ton of energy and immense joy - both which were hard to come by at times. By doing MS Bike tours I was generating awareness and fundraising for a whole community of people beyond myself.
…and then “life happened.” I changed career paths, got divorced and lived with (at times)
disabling levels of anxiety. On the disease front, I suffered a few major relapses that lasted from several weeks to several months (2015, 2020, 2023), surfacing my main MS symptoms: mild to moderate levels of dizziness, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and difficulty with executive motor function. Recently, there have been signs of further progression on MRI Scans.
Since my diagnosis, I have not had to take on life’s challenges alone. Family, friends and an amazing community of people have supported me throughout. In solidarity to my diagnosis, friends took it upon themselves to raise awareness and fundraise for the cause, even before I did. Some have continued ever since. My parents have volunteered whenever possible, as have others, in what can be, at times, an overwhelming demonstration of their willingness to help.
Since that first MS Bike event in 2014, I’ve met hundreds of people who have further inspired
me to stay active and live my purposeful life. Ten years later and with continued disease
progression, there is more urgency to deliver a tangible legacy. If not now, when?
In 2023 I am riding across Canada to inspire myself and others to make a dream come true. This is about proving to myself that I am capable, in spite of the challenges that I am facing. This is about showing my son Leonardo that his dad won’t let obstacles decide which goals are worth pursuing and that he shouldn’t either. After all, an MS diagnosis should only be the beginning, and not the end, of a more purposeful life.