TRURO – Chris MacDougall wasn’t going to let a broken ankle stop him from cycling across Iceland.
MacDougall, a businessman in Truro, is one of five people with ties to the area to participate in this year’s GIVETOLIVE Big Ride, taking them to beautiful Iceland.
“Iceland sounds like a lot of fun,” said MacDougall, who raised more than $265,000 last year cycling from Vancouver to St. John’s, NL, on Charlie’s Ride. “I think this might be the most interesting ride yet, because we’re biking 24 hours a day through the midnight sun.”
But MacDougall wasn’t too sure if his participation would be on the seat of his bike or in a vehicle – he slipped on ice late January while walking his dog and shattered his ankle.
“They told me I broke it in three places, but I told the doctor it looked like I only broke it in one place. He laughed and said it was definitely broken in more than three places.”
For three months, MacDougall wasn’t able to drive a vehicle. He then spent time on two crutches, followed by one crutch or a cane before putting full weight back on his foot.
He spent time in physiotherapy getting his strength and range of motion back, and started slowly on the bicycle. He followed his instructions during the course of his recuperation, and was back to cycling more than 70 kilometres by the end of May.
Joining MacDougall for the Big Ride are his son, Dan MacDougall, niece Meg MacDougall, neighbour Declan Watson, and Janice Beaver. The Big Ride runs from June 19 to 24, and teams of riders will cycle the circumference of Iceland (1,358 kilometres) in 72 hours or less.
It will be MacDougall’s seventh bike ride with the organization, which raises funds for cancer-related charities.
MacDougall’s son, Charlie, died almost 13 years ago at the age of 14.
Dan and Meg have participated in GIVETOLIVE events throughout the years, including the Big Swim across the Northumberland Strait from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. Beaver has also completed the swim.
“Meg and Dan have done rides with me before, and Declan decided he wanted to try it,” said MacDougall.
“It’s nice to have that support. Dan and Meg know why I ride, and they’re both involved because of Charlie. Declan knew Charlie, but Declan also had a sister who died in infancy from cancer before he was born. It’s around everyone.”
Last year’s cross-country Charlie’s Ride saw the money go to the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute through the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. MacDougall created the Charlie and Dan MacDougall Endowment Fund for Cancer Research, which provided the money to the institute.
This year’s ride through GIVETOLIVE, will see 40 per cent of the funds raised go to the endowment fund, with the other 60 per cent to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Sobey Cancer Support Centre in Halifax. The funding through the centre will go toward ‘Charlie’s Room’, an exercise facility for patients and families staying at the lodge stay physically active.
It was Give to Live’s founders who decided where the money would go thanks to this ride, and MacDougall was pleased with the decision.
To prepare himself for the ride, MacDougall has been making sure to get his rides in five times a week. By the time the relay starts, he’ll be back up to 100 kilometres a ride.
“I’ve been told it’s very windy, and I’ve been told it rains a lot,” he said of Iceland.
“Neither of which I like.”
People also called Iceland ‘hilly’, however after checking the elevations online, MacDougall doesn’t think they’ll be much of an issue.
“But I hate wind. When it’s at your back, it’s alright, but when not it’s head wind. And I’d rather do hills than rain.”
Each participant is raising their own funds for the event, with donations being taken online.
For more information on the ride, or to donate, visit https://www.givetolive.ca/the-big-ride/sponsor-a-rider/.