Now it's time to talk a little about my plan, and the reasons behind it.
In order to celebrate my recovery, five year milestone, and most of all the time and joy it has given me with my family (my wife Maryse and my children Julianne and Phil), friends and colleagues, I plan to cycle, in April and May of next year, from the Atlantic coast of France (starting in a village called St-Nazaire) to Budapest, Hungary, the birthplace of my maternal grandparents. I will follow a cycle route called Velo-6, which is one of twelve bicycle routes implemented at the initiative of the European Federation of Cyclists. This route follows three of the great rivers of Europe, and cradles of European civilization, the Loire, the Rhine and the Danube. It crosses France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. While it continues beyond Hungary, all the way to the Black Sea, I will be satisfied, at least on this trip, to reach my family's native city of Budapest. To find out more about Velo-6, and see the route I will follow go to http://www.eurovelo6.org/bicycle-ride, and look at les etapes (the stages) from Val de Loire (the Loire Valley) to Vienne (Vienna) to Budapest.
I'm going to use this occasion to continue to build support for the hospital where I was treated, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, and in particular for a fund which I helped to establish, The Fund for Research and Education on Blood Cancers. This fund raises money for fellowships in the treatment of blood cancers and for the Center of excellence in cellular therapies at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, which we hope will lead to new treatments and cures (I will write more on this below).
I will write in this blog about my illness, my treatment and my recovery. I will keep readers (if there are any) up to date on my preparations, and once I hit the road, I hope to post regularly, with lots of pictures.
My illness and recovery have taught me many things, most importantly the fragility of life, the great gift and joy of our every day experiences, how lucky we all are just to see our children grow every day, and, above all, the importance of making every day count for the better, both for ourselves and those around us. We owe that not only to all of those who made our recovery possible, but also to all those for whom recovery was not possible.