Jimmy Pelletier a few minutes before departing on his 7,200 km hand bike ride across Canada on May 7 to raise money for autism spectrum disorders and physical or intellectual disabilities. (Submitted photo)

Jimmy Pelletier a few minutes before departing on his 7,200 km hand bike ride across Canada on May 7 to raise money for autism spectrum disorders and physical or intellectual disabilities. (Submitted photo)

Paralympian stops in Kelowna along coast-to-coast hand bike ride

Jimmy Pelletier stopped to speak with students at l’École de l’Anse-au-sable on May 10

Canadian Paralympic athlete Jimmy Pelletier stopped in Kelowna Friday along his hand bike ride across Canada.

Pelletier set out on the 7,200 km journey on May 7 in Vancouver, in hopes of raising $500,000 for people suffering from autism spectrum disorders and physical or intellectual disabilities.

He plans to lead six cyclists to Halifax over a period of 67 days, with an expected arrival of July 10.

READ MORE: Club for girls with neuro-developmental differences gains provincial recognition

While in Kelowna, Pelletier visited l’École de l’Anse-au-sable to talk about his experiences.

“It is important for me to meet children across the country to promote perseverance, respect for difference and mutual aid,” he said. “Through my experience, I hope they see that nothing is impossible.”

Pelletier survived a car accident in 1996 that left him paraplegic at 19 years old.

He went on to become a member of the Canadian hand cycling race bike team and competed in the Torino 2006 Paralympic Games in cross-country skiing.

Last year, he became the second person in the world to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro using an adaptive mountain bike.

READ MORE: Fight for autism diagnosis arduous for adults in B.C.

Pelletier will stay in Kelowna until Sunday, then continue to his next stop in Salmon Arm.

People interested in supporting his coast-to-coast ride can purchase kilometres for $25 each at www.latraverseeducanada.com.



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

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