Isn’t it funny the way things happen sometimes ….. by John Lafferty
For a couple of months I have been considering making a long cycle trip in 2015 from Barcelona back home to Paisley and possibly using it as a means to raise funds for charity through sponsorship. One action which I took involved registering with an online forum called www.warmshowers.org/ If you’ve heard of couchsurfing then this can be understood as an equivalent organisation for touring cyclists. Members offer a bed and shower etc. to other members, who happen to be travelling in their area, and this is reciprocated whenever the hosts go on their travels. So, a matter of a couple of weeks after I registered, I received a request from a young Belgian man, Jeroen de Schepper, who was making a 10,000 kilometre trip around Europe and fund raising for a Huntington’s disease (HD) charity.
Now that in itself is not unusual given the nature of the wamshowers group but therein lay a coincidence most interesting, as Hercule Poirot might say.
I am married to a woman whose first husband is in a state of very high dependency due to Huntington’s disease. Unfortunately, both her daughters also carry the defective gene, which indicates that they will eventually develop the symptoms of the disease. We, therefore, had an additional motive for hosting this young man. When I read his blog, I found out about the various receptions he had received by dignitaries and representatives of local HD charities in places he had visited. I felt I should make arrangements for his arrival here to be publicised as a way of raising awareness of the disease. I spoke to a reporter from the local newspaper and contacted Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall and John Eden of the Scottish Huntington’s Disease Association to sow the seeds of an idea for a photo call involving the cyclist . The day before he was due to arrive I was leaving on a prearranged holiday, cycling with friends in Holland so I had to ask my wife to handle the event.
Jeroen was cycling from Crieff that day so the time of the meeting, originally arranged with the provost and photographers for 3:00 pm had to be delayed until he arrived, at 5:20 pm. By this time the provost was itching to leave for another appointment and one of the photographers did have to leave. So, although the meeting didn’t go entirely as anticipated, it did take place and photographs were taken for publication with a story in the paper.
Jeroen stayed over with his girlfriend, who had joined him for his trip in Scotland. They left very early next morning to catch a ferry to Ireland from Troon to continue his remarkable adventure inspired by a desire to benefit sufferers from this debilitating disease which, as yet, has no cure.
To read about his trip go to crosscountry4huntington.wordpress.com
You will also find there a means to donate to the cause.
(Photographs by Paisley Photographs)
This section: Events, Fairs, Festivals and Fundraisers
Filed under: Events, Fairs, Festivals and Fundraisers
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