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Marg Lois
Lois Leslie (left) and Marg de Grace (right)

This spring, Paul Gully and Lois Leslie will be departing on an eighteen month long cycling trip, from Lisbon, Portugal to Auckland, New Zealand, raising awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease. Their route will take them through southern Europe, across Turkey and the Caucasus, India, South-East Asia, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Why are they doing this? They have witnessed the drastic changes that come with Parkinson’s disease in the 25 years that their close friend Marg de Grace has lived with the condition. Marg and Lois are life-long friends, having first met in high school in the 1960’s. Marg and her husband Allan have kept in touch with Lois and Paul over the decades. They manage to visit each other regularly, and they all share a commitment to staying active. Marg experiences many Parkinson’s symptoms, including the tremor, dyskinesia, fatigue and issues with balance. She is still mobile, but sometimes needs help with the little daily things, such as putting on socks and shoes. She consistently has to work on fall prevention, voice projection and muscle maintenance.

Over the years she has been living with the disease, Parkinson Society British Columbia (PSBC) had always been on her radar. A few of Marg’s friends have served on the board of directors. She has participated in Parkinson SuperWalk and belongs to a local support group. This is in addition to attending Annual General Meetings, conferences and workshops. Marg suggested that Lois and Paul consider PSBC when they were planning their trip. She explains via email, “I believe that it is important to focus the donations in the places where it will be most effective. This is best achieved by directing the funds through PSBC to the local Parkinson’s community.”

Lois and Paul have been cycling for years, but became committed long-distance cyclists with their cross-Canada tour in 2013. They are not afraid of a challenge, either. Lois explains, “It is particularly important to us to be able to do this at a time when intolerance, suspicion and fear of the ‘other’ are creating a less-welcoming world, especially for those most vulnerable. It is equally important to us to be able to use the trip to draw attention to Parkinson’s disease across the globe.” Lois and Paul hope to raise $50,000 during the course of their trip, which will start in March 2017 and is expected to wrap up in October 2018. You can read about their journey via their blog, donate to their cause, or follow them on Twitter (@PaulRGully).