More than his disability, Canadian man stops in Winnipeg on his cross-country tour

A man biking across Canada to raise money for multiple sclerosis isn’t letting his disease get in the way of pursuing his passion.

A man biking across Canada to raise money for multiple sclerosis isn’t letting his disease get in the way of pursuing his passion. And he’s using his journey to inspire others to do things despite their level of ability.

Jonathan Allenger was diagnosed with MS in 2013, and since then has biked in numerous events in his hometown of Ottawa.

This year, he’s upping the ante and cycling from coast to coast.

“I’ve had the great pleasure of riding in various parts of the world and meeting all sorts of people who’ve done amazing journeys. That’s given me the inspiration to do this cross-Canada tour,” he told Global News’ Talha Hashmani during his stop in Winnipeg.

Allenger started his ride in Vancouver 19 days ago. His goal is to raise $1 million to support research for better medication and treatments in order to slow the progression of MS.

As far as he knows, he’s the only cyclist to make the trek while actively living with the neurological condition.

Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, according to MS Canada. On average, 12 Canadians are diagnosed with the disease every day.

Common symptoms of MS, which affects the nervous system, include fatigue, lack of co-ordination, weakness and cognitive impairment. There is no known cause of MS, nor is there a cure.

Following Allenger is a big red van and a support team to assist him, which the cyclist credits for his progress thus far. But it’s the people he’s met during the ride who also keep him going.

“I’ve met honestly dozens and dozens and dozens of people since I left Vancouver 19 days ago, who, through their excitement about what’s happening, have just refuelled me to continue moving my legs and moving eastward,” he said.

Apart from raising money, he hopes to encourage others.

“Just because we have MS doesn’t mean that we have to suddenly change our life’s plans,” he said.

“You can still dream big. You can still accomplish incredible things.”

So far, Allenger has raised nearly $80,000 of his fundraising goal. He will continue his ride into Ontario, due to arrive in Thunder Bay on May 29 for his next planned stop.

“We’re taking it one day at a time, one pedal stroke at a time.”

– With files from Global’s Talha Hashmani

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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