Journey for Janice: The Beginning

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Hi! My name is Jordan Freedman and I am training for a month long bike ride from Toronto to Halifax.

Why would anyone do such a crazy thing you may ask?

It all started back in 2012 when I decided to turn one of my greatest passions into something truly meaningful. I have been a cyclist for as long as I can remember; during high school I increased my route distances to the point where none of my friends were willing to ride with me anymore. After reaching the 100 km milestone in 2012, I decided to ride for a cause and entered the Ride to Conquer Cancer for two consecutive years. Each year I finished the weekend proud of my performance and my contribution to cancer research, but I always felt like there was more left in the tank. I knew at that point I wanted to do something bigger.

My motivation for biking for charity comes from the passing of my mom, Janice Freedman, from Polymyositis, a form of muscular dystrophy. My mom was diagnosed with Polymyositis in January 2011; this disease slowly took away her ability to work, walk and even swallow. She battled through the disease and was strong enough to improve throughout the remainder of the year. In the winter of the following year, she relapsed with conditions worse than the previous year. My mom was not able to gain her strength back and passed away in April 2012. I have always wanted to dedicate something very special in memory of her and help others who suffer from similar diseases. A few years passed before anything really materialized.

One evening in June of 2014, I was hanging out with my two best friends – I will never forget this night as it truly sparked the idea for this ride. My friends were initially interested in backpacking across Europe in the summer of 2015, but after reviewing the finances, we decided it was not the best option for all of us. This is when I brought up the idea of biking across Canada. My friend, Hartley Ruch, was immediately interested, realizing that we would still be able to travel together, but this time for a great cause. That night is where this Journey truly began.

Hartley (R), and Jordan (L)

Hartley (L), and Jordan (R)

Over the summer, both Hartley and I were planning routes, talking logistics, and thinking about what organization we wanted to support. When we finalized our tentative plans, the route spanned over 2200 km! It could have been as short as 1800 km if we travelled through the United States, but we decided to stay true to our roots and go Canada all the way (I also really wanted to see PEI)! Hartley has always been an athlete so he was not satisfied with just acting as the support car the entire way. Hartley is not a cyclist, so he set a goal for himself to run over 100 km over the course of the trip. Early October is when we reached out to Muscular Dystrophy Canada. We were thrilled with their response and incredible support to help us reach our goals of completing this ride and gaining donations along the way!  It was truly a great month that motivated both Hartley and I to go through with our plans.  I met with the National Director of Individual and Corporate Giving for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Kevin Harrison, and settled on the May 24th event start date. We also solidified the name for the ride which Hartley cleverly came up with, ‘Journey for Janice’.

In the days since, we have been working incredibly hard to make this ride a reality and have received incredible support from various friends, family and especially from Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Both Hartley and I have been training hard over the course of the year. I have been taking the 2200 km distance very seriously and I have been doing many indoor bike training sessions to keep in shape.

We are very excited for next few months leading up to the ride and the event itself! ‘Journey For Janice’ has already become larger than we ever imagined, but we do not want to stop here. We have high hopes to fulfill and exceed our goals along the way. We have an initial goal of $10,000 that we will hopefully increase closer to the event.  Our progress can be followed on our ‘Journey For Janice’ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/journeyforjanice and donations can be made at our website: http://muscle.ca/events/journey-for-janice/

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