Jim Redmond and Steve Iseman are part of a team cycling across Canada to raise awareness about living with Parkinson’s. Pictured here in Fernie on July 13, 2022. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Jim Redmond and Steve Iseman are part of a team cycling across Canada to raise awareness about living with Parkinson’s. Pictured here in Fernie on July 13, 2022. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Cyclists living with Parkinson’s ride across Canada and through Fernie

The team hope to raise the spirits of those living with the disease

A group of cyclists are riding across Canada to raise awareness about the disease, and working to normalize living with it and taking control after a diagnosis.

Jim Redmond of Ottawa and Steve Iseman of Toronto set out from Victoria, B.C. on June 25, destination: St. John’s. On July 13, they stopped over in Fernie.

“We are meeting as many people along the way as we can,” said Redmond, who explained they and their support crew would set up their RV in high-traffic areas, and sit down for a chat about Parkinson’s.

Redmond was diagnosed with Parkinson’s seven years ago, while Iseman was diagnosed nine years ago.

“We’re trying to let people know the benefits of cycling and Parkinson’s when it comes to symptom control,” said Redmond. “We’re trying to let them know that if they join a community, their life gets better as well, because about 90 percent of people with Parkinson’s don’t access any sort of formal support, they just try and go it alone.”

Iseman, who visits Fernie regularly said that bringing people out to talk about Parkinson’s was key to their journey, saying that people diagnosed hid their disease.

“I was in hiding for five years, so I know about it,” he said.

“Our goal is to be in the right place at the right time, and to do that you have to be out in places and going community to community,” he said, recounting an encounter with a woman who had just picked up her first prescription for Parkinson’s following a diagnosis. “She had just learned a week prior, and she was frazzled, confused and scared … (meeting Iseman on a bike) replaced those feelings with the idea that her life was still in her hands, and there were a lot of good decisions to be made.

“We’re holding ourselves out as an example of the benefits of a positive attitude.”

Iseman said that Fernie was always on their itinerary, because of his connections with the town.

“It was here that I discovered I could no longer ski – I lost the ability to turn left,” he said, recounting a story of injuring himself up at Polar Chair.

Now, years later, he’s back on his bike, and back hitting the slopes when the snow is good.

“With hard work and medication, I’m now back up.”

So far, Redmond and Iseman have cycled about 1,600 km, with 14,000 m of elevation gain. They’ve got a long way to go, with plans to be in St. John’s by mid-September.

Despite the hills of B.C., they’re sad to leave them behind.

“I will miss them when they’re not around, because it’s so beautiful,” said Redmond.

You can follow the journey of both Redmond and Iseman (and their support team) on their website at spinningwheelstour.ca, and on Facebook and Instagram. They are partnering with local Parkinson’s support groups during their journey.

READ MORE: Local golf tournament and gala brings in $300k for local charities



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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