Christine van Reeuwyk
Goldstream News Gazette
David Cox has already cycled over 5,500 km for MS and he’s currently adding another 1,000 to his impressive total.
The 68-year-old started his third unsupported Van Isle End to End to endMS ride up and down Vancouver Island Friday.
“I get to start off going down a hill,” the Colwood man told the Goldstream News Gazette before coasting down his driveway. “Really, the idea was to start at home and end at home.”
Originally the then-Torontonian was just “looking for a good organized bike ride.” The next year it got personal when his niece was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis).
Within six months she was confined to a wheelchair. Cox organized a team of RBC fundraising riders and now is in his 19th year of MS bike rides.
“I’m going to raise money — that’s gravy,” he said. “It keeps the whole concept that this disease does not have a cure and make people aware of it.”
When he retired to B.C. in 2005, Cox continued to ride fundraisers and raise awareness, spending three years on the board for the MS Society’s South and Central Island chapter. In 2009, he started the Island ride that became bi-annual after an injury in 2010. The idea is to put his own “blood, sweat and tears” into the effort.
“There’s a lot of competing charities out there looking for dollars,” he explained.
So Cox packed his 40 pounds of baggage on his 28-pound bike and headed out of Colwood to make his way to Port Hardy and back to Shawnigan in time for the Cowichan Valley Grape Escape MS ride that starts July 6.
He’ll do the two-day tour then head home. The primary goal is awareness and respect he feels is lacking in day-to-day life, illustrated by a visit to his niece Leslie a few months ago.
“I was astounded at the rudeness of people who made her stop, made her get out of the way,” he said of his wheelchair-bound relative. “It’s important for people to recognize there’s folks out there who don’t have the quality of life we have. If they want to make a donation, all the better.”
Cox encourages people to watch out for the symptoms of the common disease of the central nervous system including blurry vision, fatigue, cognitive issues, paralysis and muscle weakness among many others.
He points out the South and Central Vancouver Island Chapters of the Multiple Sclerosis Society merged in January to better address experiencing fundraising and operational challenges and will continue to provide assistance to people in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area through its Nanaimo office.
He’s well on track to surpass his $3,000 fundraising goal.
To donate visit www.msbiketours.ca and use the “find a cyclist or team” option. Visit endMS.ca MSbiketours.ca for more about the cause and fundraisers.
— with files from Auren Ruvinsky
• Day 1 – June 28 to Nanoose Creek Campground – 126 km
• Day 2 – June 29 to Elk Falls Provincial Park campground, Campbell River – 133 km
• Day 3 – June 30 to Woss – 132 km
• Day 4 – July 1 to Port Hardy and Alder Bay Resort campground – 157 km
• Day 5 – July 2 to Fisherboy Park campground, Sayward – 127 km
• Day 6 – July 3 to Courtenay – 115 km
• Day 7 – July 4 through Parksville to Nanoose Creek – 87 km
• Day 8 – July 5 to Shawnigan Lake School – 94 km
• Day 9 – July 6 – MS 100 km ride
• Day 10 – July 7 – MS 65 km ride and last stretch home – 110 km
• Sept. 7 – RBC GranFondo Whistler – 122 km