The rainbow that greeted her at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border Tuesday should have warned her of Wednesday's wet weather, but rain couldn't stop Leslie MacDonald's smile from beaming as she departed for Truro yesterday as the final days of her cross-Canada bicycle adventure to raise awareness for ALS roll on.MacDonald's adventure began June 5, when she left Vancouver and the Pacific coast for her hometown of Truro. A day away from her own bed, she'll continue to pedal this weekend where she will arrive in Summerside, P.E.I., the resting place of her father, Robert "Bob" MacDonald, who died as a result of ALS seven years ago.
"Seven years gave me time and added strength to keep the emotions from becoming overwhelming," MacDonald said as she prepared to leave the Loch Lomond Tenting and Trailer Park.
"It's funny, being this close I think about the finish but I've been dreaming about (dad) a lot."
In her dreams, her father encourages her to keep going, she says.
MacDonald's father died just one year after his 2002 diagnosis of Bulber ALS. The effects were so sudden and heartbreaking, MacDonald recalls, that she now feels a special connection with those afflicted with the disease. Those people, she says, are champions.
"I was staying at a campsite and a family approached me about what I'm doing and the wife's husband has ALS. He came over and he had none of his faculties from the ALS - the ability to move his arms or his legs properly - but he shook my hand anyway," she said.
"My dad wouldn't go out as his ALS progressed, so to see this man at that stage was inspiring. I've met so many people like that with ALS on this journey that have been inspiring."
The journey has also given once-in-a-lifetime experiences she'll cherish and plans to share with her co-workers when she goes back to her job as a registered nurse at the IWK Health Centre.
Her journey, sponsored through the ALS Society of Canada, is aptly titled Going The Distance For Dad and ALS and has raised almost $10,500.
MacDonald will spend Thursday resting at home before picking up her journey in Truro to Pictou on Friday. On Saturday, she will bike the final stretch from Pictou to Summerside.
Updates and memories of her journey can be found at www.als.ca/goingthedistancefordad.
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Since the vandalism was discovered, Emery has removed all the paint from the site. Although the paint is usually locked in the shed, Emery said a couple of bottles must have been left out.
A hose nozzle was damaged, but she said that's an easy fix and will have a new one at the site before the weekend.
During the garden's first year last year, vandals left the site alone.
Now, Emery has asked the local police department to look into upping the patrols in the area.
Amherst Police Chief Charlie Rushton said the department will have more of a presence in the area after Emery contacted him with concerns, but wouldn't say what type of presence that would be.
He's also calling on the public's assistance if they see anything out of the ordinary.
"From residents in the area, as well as those growing in the garden," Rushton said, adding it would be helpful from the growers because they would know who would be in there and who wouldn't.
"These types of things are normally attributed to young people and they may not realize the seriousness of their actions," he added. "They may not know that they're taking food off the table for someone and they may consider it more of a prank."
Rushton also said that parents should have a talk with their children about the type of negativity actions such as this could create.
A meeting for all the garden users is planned for Friday at 1 p.m. to further discuss the issue.