Victoria man cycles for 24 hours straight to fundraise for dad diagnosed with ALS
Ian is riding his bike on a journey that began not on the street, but in the backyard with his dad.
“We were always playing sports,” Ian smiles, recalling how they’d shoot pucks and throw baseballs in the backyard.
Before that, his dad would taking him hiking. There are pictures of Ian as a baby poking his head out of a backpack.
“It was awesome,” Ian adds. “Some of my fondest memories as a kid.”
As an adult, Ian still finds it fun to push himself physically, his dad Ross says.
“He’s an extremely hard worker,” Ross smiles. “Very focused.”
Ian was focused on his life moving forward — at work as a firefighter, at home as a father and husband — when suddenly all he could focus on was a phone call from his dad.
“It was emotional,” Ian says. “Nobody ever wants to hear their dad has a terminal disease.”
Ross was diagnosed with ALS. He was slowly losing control of his muscles. And the son who’d always looked for help from his dad, started focusing on finding help for him.
“One thing my dad always taught me was be positive,” Ian says. “And have a positive attitude.”
So Ian decided to try and raise money for ALS research by cycling around the city for 24 hours straight.
“I’m just blown away,” Ross says of his son’s plan. “Totally blown away.”
Ian began with the overnight leg of the ride, cycling 300 kms around the Victoria Airport for 12 hours straight.
“It was cold. I was tired,” Ian says. “Was getting pretty delirious.”
But Ian kept going, riding around Greater Victoria for another 12 hours straight. He reflected on how his discomfort couldn’t compare to what his dad was enduring.
“It wasn’t really a question of if I was going to do it or not,” Ian says. “I had to do it.”
By then, Ian had more than surpassed his goal of raising $18,000.
After Ian had cycled non-stop for 24 hours, riding almost 600 kilometres straight, the dad he’d done it all for embraced him at the finish line, overwhelmed with gratitude.
“I’m so proud of Ian,” Ross says, fighting back tears. “It’s just a swelling in your heart. I don’t know what else to say.”
What can you say when you see that the baby you once carried on your back had grown up to become the man who’ll always have your back?