The bike ride across America
In late summer of 2019, I cycled completely solo from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA, to my family’s house in Old Orchard Beach, ME. This journey had always been a goal of mine, as my father completed a similar trip directly before I was born in 1997. I knew I one day had to experience it for myself.
The trip took me 50 days to complete. I covered 5755km and crossed 14 states (California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine).
On my ride, I raised funds for a not-for-profit organization called “Pencils of Promise” (POP). This organization builds schools internationally and provides quality, sustainable education for children who are impoverished and in need. They operate in Laos, Ghana, Guatemala, & Nicaragua and have built 531 schools to date (January 2021). On my ride, I raised $11,593USD. These funds provided 154 students with the opportunity to gain education. If you would like to learn more about Pencils of Promise, click HERE.
I did a daily vlog series for the entirety of my trip “The Bike Ride Across America” that can be viewed by clicking the play button below.
Lake Okanagan Swim
In September 2020 & August 2021, I attempted a wetsuit swim, 106km, from the left arm of Lake Okanagan by the city of Vernon, to the complete other side of the lake, finishing in a city called Penticton. Unfortunately, due to debilitating chafing the first year, and a dislocated wrist the second year, I did not finish the attempt, making it just under half way both attempts. Though my athletic endeavour wasn’t a success, I ended up raising $13,000CAD for the charity organization BrainTrust Canada on the first attempt, and raining funds for 23 separate charities on the second attempt. I am currently in the process of re-evaluating my plan of attack in regards to a third attempt of this challenge.
Brain Trust Canada
While taking a Social Entrepreneurship class at Okanagan College in 2019, I was introduced to a not-for-profit organization called “BrainTrust Canada” based out of Kelowna, BC. This organization has a number of programs, all centred around rehabilitation, prevention, and education of brain injury. Some of the services they can provide to those suffering from traumatic brain injury include: life skills support, clinical counselling, group programs, youth concussion clinic, NeuroRecovey center, as well as youth, schools, and family brain injury education.
This cause is meaningful to me as I have had to deal with concussion and brain injury on a personal level. In high school, I suffered a concussion which derailed my life for the better part of two years, and has trailed me until this day. I had to stop playing football, freestyle skiing, and any high impact sports as a result. I managed to play one year of baseball at the collegiate level before I had to retire from that as well, due to the inability to perform the way I knew I could, as a result of debilitating post concussion symptoms. Sports had been my identity for the entirety of my life unto that point. They were the foundation of which my morals, relationships, and work ethic were built upon. I was lost as to who I was if I could not compete at the level that I knew I was capable of/ wanted to be performing at. I had support from my family, but it was a very nerve racking and unsettling time for us all. I ended up finding a concussion manager who treated me and managed all my symptoms, telling me what I needed to do to get my life back in order. If I didn’t have this individual in my life, I don’t know if I would have ever found my way out of the sheer darkness that was cast over me due to the concussions. That is why in my eyes, BrainTrust Canada’s Youth Concussion Clinic is an absolute necessity. These youth and their families need nothing more than proper guidance and treatment in a time of such stress and unknowingness.