A journey he decided to make as an attempt to give his father some hope is turning into a valuable lesson for himself.
It was about seven years ago when Cory Welsh’s father was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system.
Welsh says he has tried to help his dad since his diagnosis, but say he thinks his father is in denial about his health.
That hasn’t stopped Welsh from trying to do whatever he can to help his father come to terms with his disease, and help him live life as comfortably as he can.
For two years Welsh has been thinking about touring across Canada on bike to raise money for Parkinson’s research, but it wasn’t until September that he really began to plan it out.
Now, several months later, Welsh is already pedaling his way across the country.
When he arrived in Salmon Arm last week, Welsh had already biked his way through 10 British Columbia cities and earned $32,398.
Being from Ontario, the B.C. landscape has been a welcome change for Welsh, who could think of no better way of exploring it for the first time.
Welsh hopes to raise a minimum of $50,000 during his bike tour, and has arranged to donate all of the money to Parkinson’s research when he reaches his final destination.
While most fundraisers of this type donate all the money in one lump sum to a specific chapter of the group, Welsh has arranged it so that every cent that comes from a specific chapter’s district, goes back to that area.
So every penny raised in the Salmon Arm area will be donated to the district’s Parkinson’s research chapter.
Welsh’s girlfriend Elyse Parris has come along for the ride, following closely behind him in a van.
The pair has been staying in the homes of people who have Parkinson’s or have been affected in some way by the disease.
This has not only saved on the cost of hotels, but it has also provided some of the greatest lessons Welsh has learned in the seven years since his father’s diagnosis.
“When my dad was diagnosed, I didn’t really know what the disease was,” he says. “I knew you got tics, but that was about it.”
Through staying with families who have been in some way affected by the disease, Welsh has not only been able to learn about the many different forms of the disease, but also different tips on how his father can live a more normal life.
“I have people telling me things I can do with my dad that will help him as well as get him out,” he says.
“I actually met with one man here in Salmon Arm whose father had Parkinson’s.”
Welsh explains how the man described what it was like for him to take care of his father, the things he learned, the difficulties as well as the joys.
When it was mentioned that he might be helping these families by giving them someone to talk to, Welsh immediately denied this.
“I think they are helping me.”
Welsh was just heading into Alberta and plans to end his journey in Halifax, N.S.
It is not the distance left to travel that is worrying Welsh.
“The biking part is easy,” he says. “It is getting the word out that is hard. If people do not know that we are out there doing this, we will not be able to reach our goal.”
The public can donate money in two ways.
The first is in person as Welsh cycles through their town or city.
The second is online, through their website at http://www.pdcycle.com/.
Welsh also welcomes people to follow along on his blog, where he writes daily summaries of his day’s adventures.
You can find his blog at http://parkinsonscycleofhope.blogspot.ca.