Thursday, September 1, 2011

Celebrations in St. John's

Your body does something funny the day after a 7260 km bike ride. It suddenly becomes absolutely exhausted. Fortunately for us, we had some great friends and a lovely event to get us through the day.

After an included breakfast at the Delta, Vanessa and I hopped on our bikes and headed to our last rehab class run through Eastern Health at Memorial University's Field House. There we were greeted by hospital representatives Wendy Decker, Dr. Michael Furlong, Sharon Meehan and a wonderful rehab class that made us feel right at home.

We were also thrilled to have a few special guests, including St. John's East MP Jack Harris, a representative of St. John's South-Mount Pearl MP Ryan Cleary and St John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe. I also hesitate to call them guests and not simply good friends, but we were grateful as well to have Barbara Kennedy, Executive Director of the of the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada and Leo DelZotto, President of Tridel Corporation and The Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada, on hand for the celebrations. Both Barbara and Leo have been incredibly supportive of the campaign and have done countless hours of work to promote the Ride for Rehab. We can't describe how grateful we are for their unwavering support. While we have the chance, in abstentia, Vanessa and I want to give a big thank you to Cristina Mellos of the Cardiac Health Foundation for her work on the campaign as well.

Our last Rehab visit began with some very kind words from MP Jack Harris and Mayor O'Keefe. Mayor O'Keefe recently went through a cardiac health emergency of his own and was gracious enough to share his experience of personal crisis and eventual recovery.

Following the introductions, Leo DelZotto presented Vanessa and I with a check for $22,000.00 on behalf of Tridel, made out to the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada which we Promptly passed off to Barbara (No one should have a check that large in their hands for too long!).

A big part of this campaign has been to spread awareness about the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation programs and to make sure that people know that they are available. Part of this has been trying to attract media attention to cardiac rehab and today was no exception. At the event we were fortunate enough to have television coverage from CBC, NTV and Roger's TV. We were thrilled to have them there to help get the word out.

Following the presentations, Vanessa and I took a quick ride back to The Delta where we had a celebratory luncheon hosted by Leo DelZotto and attended by hospital representatives.

It's hard to digest that the trip has finally come to a close. When you consider the time it took to plan and prepare for the ride, it's been the focus for about seven months of our lives. From here we're taking a few days to enjoy St. John's before settling back into our lives in Toronto.

The iphone has a lovely feature where you can view your photo collection as a musical slideshow. This afternoon Vanessa and I sat down and watched snaps of our trip from start to finish. Looking back at the early photos from Vancouver, they seem like a lifetime ago. In some ways it's hard to group all of the memories together as a single trip. It's difficult to convince yourself that you've experienced so much in such a short period of time.

There is a wonderful rhythm to the images. These stunning photos of landscapes lead into the rehab centres and the people we had the privilege to meet, and then fade back out onto the road. Chronologically they really convey the extreme contrasts we felt floating back and forth between wilderness and civilization.

As we've said before, the real weight of this trip is only starting to sink in and we need a bit of time to really process it all. In a week or so Vanessa and I are going to publish some final thoughts, but this is our last post of our day to day.

All we can say is thank you all for supporting a cause so close to us and for supporting us personally through what will likely be the one of the most difficult and lovely experiences of our lives. We feel privileged to have had the chance to share it with you and we sincerely hope you all enjoyed coming along for the ride.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,

Alex and Vanessa


  1. Thank you for sharing this experience with US, Alex + Vanessa!

  2. Congratulations Alex and Vanessa! What an incredible achievement. It was great to be able to follow your trip on your blog and marvel at all you saw and accomplished. Totally inspiring!

    -Julia Cott

  3. You've shown us all what can be done - one kilometer at a time! What an inspiration!

  4. Congratulations and thanks so much for sharing your daily adventures with us! I'll miss reading about the amazing things you are doing, but will be so happy to have you back in Toronto. Congratulations on all your success! You are both such inspirations - happy to have amazing people like you in my life! now get back here for a beer! (Krista... who else!!!)

  5. Great effort by you both. Well-deserved kudos to all who supported this amazing adventure. Very inspirational & heart-warming.

    So, where to next?????


    Lots of love,
    Auntie Lindsay