April 19, 2010

Biker Coming to Town

REcently the Church office received word that "Gary Jones, a member of Trinity United Church in Timberlea, Nova Scotia is cycling across cancer to raise funds and increase awareness of thyroid cancer, which he was successfully treated for a few years ago." Gary will be arriving in Atikokan on June 3 and we will be looking for a billet for him. Contact Gord for more information. A story about Gary and his ride is available if you expand the post

Gary Jones passed the test of a lifetime when he underwent surgery for thyroid cancer in December, 1997. Now the long-time trucker and resident of the Bay Road in Timberlea is going to test himself -and his bicycle- on a 4,500 mile ride across Canada to raise money for thyroid cancer this spring..

He’s hoping to meet as many United Church folks as possible in his journey across the country – and is eager to talk to anyone who could put him up for a night along the way.

The ride isn’t just a physical challenge; it’s a spiritual one, according to the bearded, muscular truck driver who has been planning the trip ever since he got a clean bill of health from his doctor in 1998. Now that he’s retired after 38 years on the road, it’s time to hit the blacktop again.

“My life journey has been on wheels”, he says with an infectious grin. “I started with 18 wheels, graduated to 22 and drove from east to west.”

“My mission within my new journey starting in May is to bike west to east on two wheels hauling hope, faith and attitude”.

He’s scheduled to dip his wheel in the Pacific Ocean May 15 and will set an ambitious target of crossing the country in 45 days.

Gary’s attitude is well known in his home congregation where he has done everything from acting in plays to pouring concrete and heading up the church’s famous trucker’s breakfasts where diners are treated to heaped plates of beans and eggs and bacon topped off with pancakes. He’s also renowned for his energetic and enthusiastic speeches to the congregation either celebrating the last church event or advertising the next one.

That energy has also been evident in his fund-raising effort for thyroid cancer – so far he has raised over $9,000 and his goal is $20,000. But Gary is not a man who limits himself in anything.

He’s delighted with the generosity of the local community – businesses and individuals.

There is a long list of supporters on his website garybiking.blogspot.com and it grows every day that he is on the road with his passionate story about the need for cancer research funding.

“Word is starting to spread. Every day for the past two weeks somebody has come up to me and given me $20 or more- every day that happens”, Gary said.

He’s training every day for the journey and wants to get started – and to make friends along the way by billeting at homes along the route.

“I’m anxious to get on with this amazing adventure of crossing Canada by bike and fund-raising because I am a survivor of thyroid cancer,” he said.

So in the meantime it’s hammer down as Gary continues to train on roads around Timberlea, logging the miles to get ready for the big trip.

“My strength and my attitude come from enjoying life. Every day is a holiday,” he said.

“It’s all about smiling.”

Gary invites anyone who would like to support him to visit the garybiking.blogspot.com website for more information. Donations can be made to “Bank of Nova Scotia Cancer Research” or contact Gary at 876- 2415 or at ganmdfjones@ns.sympatico.ca.

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