Welcome to Shifting Gears for Parkinson's
|In March 2017, Paul Gully and Lois Leslie departed on what was supposed to be an eighteen month long cycling trip from Lisbon, Portugal to Auckland, New Zealand, raising awareness and funds for Parkinsonís disease. |
(Pictured above: Lois & Paul)
They intended to cycle from Portugal across three continents to New Zealand to complete a circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle, an extended journey that began with their cycle across Canada in 2013. Their route was to take them through southern Europe, across Turkey and the Caucasus, India, South-east Asia, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
However, on May 10, 2017, the trip came to an unexpected halt. While cycling from Sanremo on the Via Aurelia, Italy, Paul was hit by a car from behind, suffering a cracked vertebra, broken ribs, pneumothoraces, numerous cuts and abrasions and severe nerve pain in his shoulders and arms. Fortunately, due to the fantastic care of the trauma team in Pietra Ligure (and Loisí love!), Paul began a difficult but steady recovery that continued after the couple arrived back in Vancouver. Remarkably, despite some persistent nerve pain, he resumed his exercise regime shortly after!
Paul and Lois did not let this stop them; on October 2, five months after the collision, they were back en route, starting where they left off in Pietre Ligure, Italy. The mode of transportation changed while Paulís recuperation continued. Their travels included being on foot, train and bus through Italy, Austria, Eastern Europe, Greece and Cyprus. After Christmas in France, the couple spent New Years in Dubai and then a month travelling through India.
However, at the end of January 2018, they interrupted their tour of India to return to BC when Loisí 97 year old mother passed away. Then just a few short weeks later in March, their dear friend Marg, who inspired the Shifting Gears for Parkinsonís trip, died suddenly.
With heavy hearts, but renewed determination, they embark once again in May 2018 (this time back on their bikes), one year after Paulís accident in Italy. They will miss out southeast Asia and China, but intend to cycle through South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Why are they doing this? They witnessed the drastic changes that come with Parkinsonís disease in the 25 years that their close friend Marg de Grace lived with the condition. Marg and Lois were life-long friends, having first met in high school in the 1960ís. Marg and her husband Allan kept in touch with Lois and Paul over the decades. They managed to visit each other regularly, and they all shared a commitment to staying active.
When Lois and Paul mentioned they wanted to plan a cycling trip to benefit those affected by Parkinson's disease, Marg suggested that they consider Parkinson Society British Columbia (PSBC). Marg explained, ďI believe that it is important to focus the donations in the places where it will be most effective. This is best achieved by directing the funds through PSBC to the local Parkinsonís community.Ē
Lois and Paul hope to raise $50,000 during the course of their trip, which is expected to wrap up in October 2018. Marg, Allan, Lois and Paul worked together to raise awareness of and funds for Parkinson's disease programs and research. While Paul and Lois are away, Allan will continue coordinating efforts back home in Vancouver.