Another cross country ride for Down Syndrome

rob_19 (Medium).jpg

Casper Lja

This is the summer for cross-country bikers for worthy causes, hardy individuals taking their two-wheelers on the road to raise money and awareness of one difficult malady or another.

This month, the rugged soul on the road is Casper Lja, from Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, who set out on his bicycle on June 27 to ride across the country to raise awareness and one million dollars for Down Syndrome. He is riding from St. John's, Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia.

He has held events in Saint John's, Halifax, NS, Charlottetown, PEI, and has upcoming events in Saint John and Fredericton, NB. Lja will be in Quebec this week. Though there are as yet no official stops in Quebec, Lja did take Monday to talk briefly about his journey and the inspiration behind it.

Lja spoke of Andrew Abbot, 19, who lives just outside St. John's, Newfoundland.

"When he was younger," said Lja, of Peace Be the Journey, "there wasn't a lot of support. Most of the people would just look at them and use the ‘R' word," said Lja.

These days, Abbott participates in numerous sporting activities and has taken part in the Special Olympics. Though he has received support from groups in Ontario and Calgary, among other places, Lja has yet to confirm any contacts in Quebec.

He expects to be in Montmagny by Wednesday and in Quebec City by the following day.

"We will be in Quebec for three days, I think," he said.
"In Quebec," he said, "we're just going to wing it."

Peace Be the Journey was started by Lja in March of 2010. He began sending motivation, inspiration and life lessons via text as part of a daily good morning service. He had a dream of riding across the country for many years after he fell in love with biking again with his old BMX.

With the help of his good friend, Lora Campbell from Class Act Enterprises, contact was made with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society and the Newfoundland and Labrador Down Syndrome Society. All parties were excited to have Casper ride across the country in aid of funding and awareness for the Down Syndrome Community.

In June, Lja began his journey and left St. John's, Newfoundland, heading west. Along the way, he hopes to meet new people, go on many adventures and support going green, active and healthy living, as well as supporting local businesses.

In Halifax, Lja met with a cycling enthusiast at the Halifax Jazz Festival. Linnea Clough is an ecotourism student at Nova Scotia Community College. The original plan was for Linnea to go to Charlottetown but she has joined with Lja and is heading west.