Langley university president pedals for Parkinson’s research

By on August 18, 2016

Trinity Western University president Bob Kuhn is captain of Team TWU which will take part in a fundraising bike ride Saturday, Aug. 20. - TWU

Trinity Western University president Bob Kuhn is captain of Team TWU which will take part in a fundraising bike ride Saturday, Aug. 20.

— image credit: TWU

Bob Kuhn is getting out from behind the desk of running Trinity Western University to hop on a bike for the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Pacific Northwest Tour de Fox.

The foundation raises funds for the fight against Parkinson’s disease.

Kuhn, the 64-year-old president of TWU, which is hosting the ride, was diagnosed with the illness in 2006, and struggles with symptoms including tremors and fatigue.

But he’s heading Team TWU and will cycle 35 miles.

“Many of the 5,000,000+ people who have Parkinson’s disease suffer a lot more than I do,” wrote Kuhn on his Tour de Fox page. “Many feel hopeless and incredibly discouraged. They need to have hope. So it is for those people that I want to do all I can to help find a cure. I’m riding in the Tour de Fox as part of Team TWU because it reminds me that there is still much that I can do. It reminds me to appreciate that I am alive.”

It’s not the first time he’s used two wheels to help fundraise for a cure.

He made a gruelling trip on motorcycle from California to Florida in fewer than 50 hours in 2014 and raised $24,000.

The parents of TWU student Jay Lutz will ride with Kuhn. Lutz was about to start at the university when he was diagnosed with leukemia. A stem cell transplant donor match could not be found. Fellow student Keenan Klassen, studying biology, heard his story and contacted Canadian Blood Services to set up a stem cell donor drive in Lutz’s name last November.

Lutz has since been successfully treated. Each of those who had the inside of their mouths swabbed at the donor drive are part of a national database of matches and could be called on to donate cells.

Parkinson’s disease

(Source: Michael J. Fox Foundation)

• Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over age 60.

• While the average age at onset is 60, people have been diagnosed as young as 18.

• The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, although research points to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

• The single biggest risk factor for Parkinson’s disease is advancing age. Men have a somewhat higher risk than women.

• Symptoms often, but not always, include tremors and shaking, fatigue, anxiety, depression and dexterity issues.

• Parkinson’s symptoms are unique to each person: Some eventually have to use wheelchairs; others run marathons.

• Healthy lifestyle choices, including exercise – particularly boxing, cycling and dancing — can help those living with Parkinson’s.

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