One local man is going on a very long ride for a very worthy cause.
70 for 7 is a fundraising initiative from Lacombe resident Matthew Sproule where he plans to bicycle 70 km a day for seven days from the Sweetgrass U.S. border to Lacombe, a trip nearly 500 km long. Funds raised by Sproule’s trip will go to benefit the Epilepsy Association of Calgary.
Doing something for the benefit of others is nothing new to Sproule. In the past, he has participated in mission trips in Ireland and Africa. This time however, Sproule has decided to do something a little closer to home.
“I thought why go off and do another mission trip somewhere far away when I can do something local and help people that I know.”
Sproule said he came up with the idea for this fundraiser about a year ago and chose to support the Epilepsy Foundation because he has friends and family with the disorder. He added he hopes to raise at least $10,000 for the cause.
Most of the money raised, said Sproule, will go to families affected by epilepsy. Some will be used for epilepsy awareness programs and a little will go toward research as well, he added.
Epilepsy, said Sproule, is a disorder that little is known about.
He said when his eldest brother started experiencing grand mal seizures at the age of 16, there was no previous hints that he had the condition.
“Ontario Epilepsy’s slogan suits it the best I would say. It’s called ‘Epilepsy, Out of the Shadows’,” said Sproule.
Luckily, his brother is one of the few individuals who can keep his epilepsy under control with medication and Sproule has never seen his brother experience a seizure first hand. However, Sproule did witness his friend having a seizure and said the experience left him feeling somewhat helpless.
“It was shocking at first,” said Sproule. “I didn’t really know what to do. I just kind of watched and let it happen. You can’t do anything about it.”
Sproule added that his mother is a registered nurse and was on hand to help when his friend went into a seizure, but there is really little anyone can do.
“All we could do is just that, stand there and watch,” Sproule said.
While epilepsy may not be a life or death condition like cancer, Sproule said that it does put people in a state of mind where they are constantly worried.
For example, Sproule said his brother has trouble keeping his driver’s license and knows that if he ever has a seizure while driving, it will be revoked. Sproule added that there are some triggers (alcohol, fatigue, flashing lights) that can cause seizures but there is really no telling when one will happen.
In preparation for his trip, Sproule said he has been “training quite vigorously” and is up to the challenge. As for any inclement weather, Sproule said he will cross those bridges when and if he comes to them.
Sproule plans to begin his trip on June 22 and return to Lacombe on June 29.
He will be cycling 70 km each along Hwys 4 and 2 in Alberta and will be staying in hotels and with a smattering of families along the way.
Besides him and his bike, Sproule will also have a friend traveling with him in a motor vehicle.
Anyone interested in supporting Sproule in his ride from Sweetgrass to Lacombe can do so through the Epilepsy Association of Calgary web site at www.calgaryepilepsy.com. Sproule said he will also be visiting businesses in Lacombe selling t-shirts to raise money and gain support.
For more information contact Matthew Sproule at firstname.lastname@example.org.