lucknow cyclist crossing country to support local hospitals
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Lucknow cyclist crossing country to support local hospitals

A local man will start his cycling quest across Canada next week to raise money for the Wingham and District Hospital.

Jurjen Weerman is set depart from Jordan River, B.C., on May 28, biking all the way to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Travelling with two friends from out west, Arthur and Rick, he plans to finish the journey in late August.

The group will be cycling around 125 km a day, six days a week, with one for rest. An avid cycler, Weerman says he’s always wanted to do a trip like this, but raising a family meant he didn’t have the time in his younger years.

“A year and a half ago when I became a grandfather with my first grandson, you start thinking about all kinds of stuff, about the future and the kids,” he says. “And I’m thinking, ‘I have to do more than just cycling across the country.’ So then I thought, ‘why don’t I approach the Wingham hospital?’ And then I did the same with the Children’s Hospital in London: let’s see if I can raise (money) for them as well.”

Weerman was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to Canada in 2001 with his family. He knows the importance of supporting local healthcare. He says he suffered a heart attack about 10 years ago. After that, the always athletic Weerman got more into running, eventually competing in a marathon in Missisauga. But the pounding running took on his knees became too much, so the Dutch man got back into his old hobby of cycling.

To train, Weerman bikes from Lucknow to his job in Belgrave most days. He’s also completed longer journeys, including a six-day trip to Peterborough and back. The cycling itself doesn’t have him too concerned, but he says the conditions out west could be an issue with all the wildfire smoke in Alberta. The trio will also be travelling through the U.S. to bypass Hwy 17 in Northern Ontario, where the narrow shoulders along the road are a worry. There won’t be any vehicle following them, so they’ll be carrying all their equipment as well.

Still, Weerman says the difficult journey will be more than worth it if they can inspire some collective action.

“If we do it by ourselves, it’s not much. But if we do it together, we are so much stronger. You start thinking about it: if I can reach, let’s say 10,000 people, and they all will donate $1, you have $10,000… if we can get that word out and reach the hearts of everybody, and I think everybody has good stuff in them, then we are able to do things.”

To donate to the Wingham and District Hospital Foundation, visit here. You can support the Children’s Health Foundation here.

You can also track Weerman’s progress on Strava or Youtube.

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