The Tour de Eddie leaving Platzl Saturday at 10
By Michelle Forbes
The Tour de Eddie is fast approaching.
Initiated by Brent and Leah Jossy, Eddie Jossy’s son and daughter-in-law, The Tour de Eddie supports Eddie Jossy’s ongoing battle with Parkinson’s Disease the best way he knows how – by keeping as physically active as possible.
With an 811 km bike ride from Kimberley, where Brent and Leah Jossy live, the ride will leave from The Platzl, and conclude in Eddie’s hometown of Josephburg, just outside of Edmonton, Alberta.
Eddie will be riding a tandem bike along with family and friends. It has now been seven years since Eddie Jossy’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease, and he has dedicated his life to staying active, and improving his muscle memory through running, bike riding on an electric bike, yoga, kickboxing, and even singing lessons.
Leah Jossy and her husband, Brent, initiated The Tour de Eddie as a way of raising awareness about Parkinson’s Disease, and about how people live with the disease. As Leah comes to the completion of her maternity leave with their young baby, she and Brent wanted to take this chance to make memories with their family, and with Eddie, while doing something big to support him in his efforts to fight the disease.
Watching Eddie, who had always been very active, slowing down over the years, has been hard for the family. Leah Jossy explains that with Parkinson’s, synapses don’t connect in the same way, making it harder to do everything in life, from walking, to swallowing, to both gross and fine motor skills.
Parkinson’s Alberta, which has a support group Eddie attends, helps those diagnosed with the disease through activities, such as singing lessons and other activities that help increase lung capacity, and helping those with the disease and their families find the options that can best support them. Parkinson’s Alberta has been a huge supporter for the Jossys as they set up the ride, including setting up their fundraising page, organizing speakers for the end of the event, helping publicize the event, and supporting the Jossys on their journey. 100% of the money raised will go to Parkinson’s Alberta, where Eddie’s support group is located.
The support the Jossy’s have received while organizing this event has shown the outpouring of support which Kimberley is capable of, Leah Jossy says, as they received donations and help from local businesses as well as donations from locals, and help with babysitting as they worked to make the Tour de Eddie a reality.
“The goal,” Leah said, “was never about the money. It was about raising awareness. About giving Eddie a voice. Raising the money was just the icing on the cake.”
And the money has been pouring in, with their $10,000 goal looming close.
Leah Jossy says that Eddie’s effort at keeping himself active has made a huge difference in the disease.
“His neurologist has been thoroughly impressed that he can still run,” she said. There is synthetic dopamine that can be taken to help Parkinson’s patients, and there are about eight steps, or levels of dopamine that can be administered, increasing as the disease progresses, Leah explained.
Eddie has been on step four for almost two years, which is phenomenal.
“Every check up he’s had with them, the doctor’s been blown away by how in control he still has been able to be, but I feel like his work ethic has contributed to slowing the symptoms down.” And Eddie plans to continue being active.
The Tour de Eddie will leave from Kimberley’s Platzl in front of The Kimberley City Bakery at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June, 2, and the riders plan to ride approximately 100 km a day, arriving in Josephburg on Saturday, June 9.
There will be six full time riders – Leah and Brent, Brent’s Uncle Darryl, who will be riding tandem with Eddie, Darryl’s wife, Debbie, and a friend, Eddie P.
There will be a support crew of about 14 people, with a support vehicle with gear and water following them, including Eddie’s 84-year-old grandmother, who will be cooking for them along the way.
Leah and Brent Jossy’s two young children will be travelling with the support team, to be a part of the journey. The Jossys have invited people to join them for the first day’s ride out to Skookumchuk, and the last day’s ride into Josephburg, although logistics and safety made it difficult to have more riders join for the complete ride.
For those who would like to help support the Jossys on their journey, there is a donation page, and you can follow their journey on Facebook, or come out and see them off, or attend one of the two spin classes Core Fitness has set up by donation on June 10, with donations for the class being donated to Parkinson’s Alberta.
They are grateful to Big Magic, which has donated shirts for their journey, and Kimberley City Bakery, which is donating water bottles, and giving them an escort on their way out of town, as well as to Core Fitness in Cranbrook, for setting up the spin classes to raise money for the cause as well.
So come out this Saturday, June 2 to cheer them on in the Platzl as they begin their journey, and follow their journey as they help spread awareness about Parkinson’s and living with the disease.
To find more information at their Facebook Page: Tour De Eddie