It’s been very special week for the John Ryan Regeneration Tour, as Ryan has made his way half-way across Canada, reached the half way point in number of days, and turned 38.
It was July 7 and 45 kilometres west of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario that kilometre 4,344 of his 8,688 kilometre journey was met.
Ryan has been making his journey pedalling a three-wheeled hand-cycle, averaging speeds of 16 km/h with a daily target distance of 100 kilometres.
On Thursday, July 8, Ryan celebrated his 38th birthday. He and his crew took the day off to commemorate how far they have come and to contemplate the journey ahead.
Ryan remains in good health and has been able to maintain a schedule of three days of wheeling and one "rest" day, which is typically spent visiting hospitals and schools, and attending fund-raising events organized by Realtors across Canada and sponsors, Eddie Bauer and Intrawest.
Highlights of the trip so far include meeting the Premiers of Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Ontario, being introduced at a Blue Jays’ game in Toronto at the SkyDome and the heart warming homecoming to Mississauga where he grew up. In addition to being presented with the keys to the city, Mississauga Realtors held an auction which added $110,000 to the fund-raising drive.
"Without a doubt, the most memorable experiences have come from the kids and young people — both able-bodied and physically challenged, that we have met along the way," reflects Ryan. "Hearing about their lives in wheelchairs and then having the chance to explain to others how spinal cord regeneration will make a difference to the lives of quadriplegics and paraplegics is incredibly inspiring."
Ryan also cited the back-to-back milestones this week as an inspiration to himself and everyone involved in the Tour. "The half way mark is very motivating. While home is in sight, like spinal cord regeneration, we still have a ways to go."
Ryan is expected to complete his 134 day journey to Whistler on Sept. 11, 1999.
Cash contributions to date to the John Ryan Regeneration Tour total more than $300,000. Donations can be made at Royal Bank branches across Canada, Eddie Bauer stores, by telephone at 1-800-570-3222, or on the Regeneration Tour internet web site: www.regenerationtour.org.