Langley, BC-"What would you do, while you still could?" Trinity Western University alumni Mike and Adam Teeter, with their brother Aaron, are using this challenge to inspire support for ALS. This summer they will challenge themselves and others by biking across the country to raise awareness and money for ALS. As they peddle across mountains and prairies, through wind, sun and rain, they carry the memory of their father with them hoping that other families will be encouraged to connect with the country's ALS community.
The Teeter brothers have faced the devastation of ALS first hand and want to make a difference. In 1994, their father, Steve, was only 37 years old when he died as a result of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Mike Teeter remembers his father as a man of strong faith, respected by the community, loyal and dependable. Mike adds that although his father was not a man who desired the spotlight, he would be proud of his sons' plan to use the message of his life to help others and build community for those struggling with this devastating disease. Currently, approximately 2,500 - 3,000 Canadians live with ALS.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing degeneration in the motor neurons. The result of ALS is that the nerves in the brain that tell the voluntary muscles what to do are gradually broken down, leading to weakened muscles and eventually paralysis. ALS causes difficulty with breathing and swallowing, leading to respiratory failure or pneumonia and death. Most people who are diagnosed with ALS die within five years.
The Teeter family had less than three years with Steve Teeter after he was diagnosed. He chose to spend his time at home with the family, rather than attempt to prolong life with the use of a ventilator. Remembering this time, Mike Teeter says, "Having family, friends and community there to support us was extremely important because we were dealing with something that was unknown to us." He adds, "No matter what it is you are going through, it is always good to know that there are others there who are looking out for your best interests."
The Teeter brothers hope their bike trip will help Canadians struggling with ALS. They wish to raise $52,000 which will be divided with sixty percent going toward families living with ALS and forty percent going toward national research done by the ALS Society of Canada. They are currently being sponsored by Trinity Western University, Norco Performance Bikes, Kia Motors, Kelsey's Restaurant and Gyptech.
In addition to raising money, the brothers want to encourage families and individuals living with ALS that they are not alone, but are a part of a greater community. "Community doesn't just happen - it's a choice," says Teeter, a lesson he learned from his years as both an undergraduate and a graduate student at TWU. His wife Juliet, also a Trinity graduate adds, "Being at TWU has opened my eyes to so many possibilities I didn't know existed. I never would have imagined being part of a trip like this, but my experiences at TWU have prepared my heart for this adventure!"
They begin their bike trip , in Vancouver, BCspanning June and July of this year and will make their way across Canada, ending in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The brothers will be supported by a road crew, comprised of their wives. Teeter explains, "It is extremely important to have the support of family and loved ones as you venture to do something that is beyond anything you've ever attempted to do before. Having our wives along and the three of us brothers together provides a great opportunity for us to build new relationships [and] to talk about the things we remember about our Dad."
In addition, the brothers hope to have 5km Bike & Glide or Slide events where supporters can walk, run, bike or rollerblade helping the Teeters raise funds. The events happen in three major cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Calgary and Owen Sound. To be announced are events in Regina, Winnipeg, Montreal, Fredericton and Halifax. At these events, those who wish to support ALS can walk, run, bike, rollerblade or participate anyway they can. The Vancouver event is confirmed for Saturday, May the 31st in Stanley Park.
Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C. is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 40 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 16 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology and leadership, and offers interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Biblical Studies, Biology and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.
Last Updated: 2008-05-21