University of Calgary

Riding for ALS

June 15, 2010

Riding for ALS

U of C nursing alumnae, Megan Kirkpatrick (left) and Leslie MacDonald as they leave BC.
While predictions for Wednesday's weather are for rain, don't count on it to dampen Leslie MacDonald's spirit. The 2009 nursing graduate will bike into the U of C bus loop sometime tomorrow, a stop on her Going the Distance for Dad and ALS cross-country trek that began on June 5 in Vancouver.

The registered nurse, who now lives in Halifax, is pedalling across Canada to raise funds and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) as a tribute to her dad who passed away from ALS in 2003.

"We had a special father-daughter relationship and to watch my dad suffer with this paralyzing disease was heart-shattering," said MacDonald who took up cycling as a diversion from her grief. "Cycling brought such a peace to me. It brought back a sense of purpose and focus in my life."

MacDonald plans to take nine weeks to make the trip. She will spend Wednesday night in Calgary, taking time to host an ALS fundraiser at Broken City Social Club on 11 Avenue SW, before resuming the 6,000 kilometre journey.

Enzo Raponi, senior manager projects and events for the ALS Society of Canada says that MacDonald's efforts are admirable and benefit the society by capturing the attention of younger adults who are not familiar with the disease’s debilitating symptoms.

"It is great to see the youth of today and tomorrow step up and inspire others to make a difference in the lives of those living with ALS," he says.

The ALS Society's vision is to make each day the best possible day for people living and affected by ALS through support, facilitating the provision of care, promoting awareness, helping find a cure and advocating for change.

MacDonald's goal of raising $25,000 is off to a slow start, but she hopes to see donations and interest growing as she moves along what she is sure will be a successful journey. "The strength I've gained over the past six and a half years since my dad's death will drive me, both mentally and physically, the entire way."

To follow MacDonald's journey, check out her blog at

For more information about Leslie's ride or to make a donation, visit or email

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