Yesterday was a pretty uneventful day on the road as I continued to make my way towards Thunder Bay. I woke up in Upsala to an army of mosquitoes(Good ol’ Norther Ontario) waiting for me outside of my tent and grabbed a hearty breakfast. It rained on me a few times, but I didnt’t have to deal with any extreme weather yesterday while I covered a casual 150+ kilometres. I was able to make it to Thunder Bay just before dinner time. Which means I have now officially made it to the halfway point of my solo bike ride across Canada.
My timing couldn’t have been better as I had made dinner plans for the evening. First I met up with Eric Westelaken who is a good friend of my sister. They attended Lakehead together, and Eric was kind enough to host me for the night, which sure beats roadside camping.
After meeting up with Eric, it was on to my dinner plans. I had arranged to meet up with a gentleman named Dale Shippam.Dale was the recipient of a heart transplant but his story differs from what you would expect from most organ donor recipients. Dale has a real carpe diem attitude, and has definitely made the most of his second chance at life.
Dale and I discussed his experiences about what it was like to be waiting for a heart transplant, the process he had to go through on his road to recovery and how he got his life back to normal. For Dale, normal was resuming his job working as a firefighter. Additionally he started to go on a variety of trips with his transplant doctor, Dr. Heather Ross. Dale has been to Nepal and the North Pole through Test Your Limits. He travelled to the South Pole in the spring with Dr. Ross, and Matt’s Iron ring, becoming the first transplant recipient to reach out the South Pole.
Dale talked to me about how special Matt must have been to grab Dr. Ross’ attention and make such an impact on her. Dr. Ross acts as the transplant doctor for many patients waiting for new hearts. I’d have to agree that Matt was pretty special. He was the catalyst for my bike ride across Canada, and he passing has inspired Matt’s family, and a lot of his friends to become passionate advocates for organ donation. Dale was also happy to hear about all of the media attention that my cross country bike ride had received.
I was glad I was able to keep my dinner plans with Dale. It is great to see someone thrive after a major transplant, and to know that they can go back to a life of normalcy again. It helps to reaffirm the importance of organ donation to me, and reinforces the importance of the message on my bike ride.
Dale was also very generous as well treating myself and Eric to dinner at Hoito, a traditional Spanish restaurant in Thunder Bay. He offered me a place to stay with his sister-in-law once I made it to Sudbury and also gave me a cheque for a donation for Give2Live. I want to thank Dale for his generosity and support, he has definitely provided me with some extra motivation to cover the 1,400 KM between here and Toronto so I can make it to the event my teams are throwing for me next Saturday.
This morning I stopped by the Terry Fox statue in Thunder bay before making my way out of town. My next stop will be in Terrace Bay as I am hoping to get another 220 + kilometres behind me today
Total KM Biked: 3,525 KM