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Traction for Good: Standing Up and Riding for Those Who Can’t

Riding 179 kilometres in two days is impressive for anyone, but it’s especially so for someone who just started riding a couple of years ago after not touching a bike since childhood. Leanne Ardley, a cloud technologist at Traction on Demand, is heading down to Washington this weekend and joining 2,000 other riders for Bike MS.

She decided to get a bike when she moved to Vancouver from Ireland a couple of years ago to explore the different neighbourhoods in her new city. What began as a hobby is now a way to commute to work – she regularly rides the 16 kilometers each way. While she’s not actively training for the fundraiser, she’s confident her body is where it needs for the challenging ride.

Riders can choose from a variety of distances, and Leanne’s goal is to ride around 90 kilometres each day. “It really depends how worn down my legs are after the first day but that’s what I’m hoping,” she says. “I’m all about setting realistic goals for myself.”

Day 1 will see Leanne bike 95 km from Mount Vernon to Deception Pass State Park, traversing Fidalgo Island along the way (Skagit County).
Day 1 will see Leanne bike 95 km from Mount Vernon to Deception Pass State Park, traversing Fidalgo Island along the way (Skagit County). Image: Google Maps, Ride with GPS

 

Although Leanne doesn’t know anyone living with multiple sclerosis (MS), she’s looking forward to meeting some of the people affected who will be cheering her on from the sidelines. Back on this side of the border, someone who will be cheering her on in spirit is Kristy Selinger, a lead strategist at Traction on Demand.

“I’ve lost one uncle, and have another uncle, an aunt and a cousin all trying to cope with variations of this disease,” she says. “We all need to take a stand in some form for those that can’t themselves. Leanne is an incredible person that is taking on a fight that we all need to join. Thank you, Leanne, for helping my cousin, aunt, uncle and so many more people worldwide. You truly are making an impact.”

According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, this country has the highest rate of MS in the world with an estimated 100,000 Canadians living with the disease. MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, which can cause extreme fatigue, lack of coordination and cognitive impairment, among other things. Currently, there is no cure.

Leanne’s motivation for the fundraising ride comes down to her physical ability to just do it. “I’ve never done a bike ride for someone else. Why not do it for someone else rather than just biking the seawall or whatever? I’m in the position to do this so why wouldn’t I play my part and help other people?”

Leanne is going to be riding with the support of Traction for Good; Traction’s community engagement program is matching the donations made on Leanne’s personal fundraising page, which you can also donate to here.

The Traction team is pumped for Leanne’s big ride this weekend and incredibly proud that she’s doing it for a great cause!

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