On May 19, Comox Valley locals the Mackinnon brothers – Scott, Sean, Ross and Ryan will depart on a cycling trip across Canada to raise money for their grandfather Neville “Baha” Munro and the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Neville Munro, a basketball Olympian, published author, successful lawyer and one-of-a-kind grandfather was the ultimate role model for the Mackinnon boys. At age 60, “Baha” as the Mackinnon boys lovingly nicknamed him was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
For the next 16 years of his life his humbled grandsons watched Baha fight this relentless disease and gained an amazing respect for their hero. In 1992, Baha had planned to achieve one of his dreams and accompany his youngest son Dave Munro in a cycling trip across Canada. But because of Parkinson’s and its major effects on his motor skills he was not able to complete this journey. The bike he was supposed to ride has been sitting in a garage for 20-plus years.
Last summer the Mackinnon boys decided that they were going to ride Baha’s bike as well as three other bikes, the 8,000-plus kilometres across Canada from Comox to Halifax in honour of their grandfather and to complete his unfinished trip. Their goal is to raise $1 for every kilometre the four of them rides as well as $1 for every kilometre their Baha would have ridden. All together this equals over $40,000 for the Michael J Fox Foundation and Parkinson’s research.
“Baha was everything we could have asked for in a Grandfather,” Scott Mackinnon explained. “He never gave up on his life, despite all the pain and difficulties Parkinson’s presents, he always made it to all of our family functions and sporting events with a huge smile on his face, the man was the definition of a warrior!”
Ross Mackinnon gave similar sentiments. “Most teenagers grow up idolizing pop stars or professional athletes, I was lucky enough to look up to my grandfather. I hope with our ride we can bring some attention to Parkinson’s and what a serious and debilitating disease it is. In the end I want to complete my Baha’s trip and make him proud.”
Ryan Mackinnon, having just recently finished his last season of varsity basketball for the University of Victoria and the youngest of the Mackinnon boys, jokes he has the best shot at making it to Halifax first, “I figure having young, fresh legs is going to help. I think I will keep the yellow jersey for the majority of the trip.”
The Mackinnon boys will be throwing a fundraising event in the Comox Valley sometime in early May, information can be found on their website. If you have any interest in supporting, donating, following or sponsoring this event check out their website at http://bikingforbaha.weebly.com.
– the Mackinnon brothers