By Susan Fullerton
Last weekend I participated in the Pedaling for Parkinson’s event in Prince Edward County, with one of my best friends, Susan Murdoch. We were members of a team called the “Rigid Riders”, made up of people with Parkinson’s and their supporters. I’d never been to PEC before and loved the early morning ride (38 km) through the countryside. It was the first time on my bike this year, so I was glad that all went well. But two things stand out for me about this event.
First, I raised over $3500 in less than a month. I was, and am still, overwhelmed at the immediacy and generosity of those who donated, especially since I exceeded my original goal ($500) on the first day. I know that my circle is for the most part financially privileged, but as the donations rolled in from friends near and far, I felt enwrapped in love and support.
Secondly, the spirit of our team and the entire group! I know that there is evidence that biking is good for PD, but what these studies don’t capture is the impact of camaraderie; the joy at seeing someone finish the ride who, before signing up and training with the team, had never ridden more than a few km before; the interesting chats with strangers biking beside you; and the strong sense of potential that, maybe just maybe, some of the funds raised will help a researcher find a cure.
Someone recently asked me what PD feels like. It’s very difficult for me to explain. Of course, on bad days, there’s the obvious – uncontrolled twitching and difficulty handwriting – but even on good days, when I’m mostly asymptomatic, I struggle with making my body do what it used to do automatically. I’m one of the lucky ones though. My community is strong and supportive. Since my diagnosis, I appreciate my personal relationships more than ever and value the caring I feel in return.
As I write this, I am gearing up for another ‘biker chick’ adventure as four of us including Murdoch travel to Scandinavia for sightseeing and a week of biking in Denmark. I do so knowing that biking is good for my Parkinson’s, but so too is spending time with thoughtful, caring women who make me laugh.
To read more about the P4P event, see
Susan Fullerton, a lawyer working for the government, lives in Toronto. She is an avid traveller who has had varying levels of fitness throughout her life. These days, she’s focused on being a reformed hoarder, trying to make better choices about how she spends her time and money.