Brian Belanger posing with bicycleBrian Belanger of the University’s maintenance department will begin a seven-week cross-country bicycle trip this week to fight ALS.

Staffer joins cross-Canada ride to fight neurodegenerative disease

Hearing about the trials of Felicia Zanella has made Brian Belanger proud to ride in her name.

Belanger, a member of the UWindsor maintenance staff, will set out Friday on a seven-week bike ride from Vancouver to St. John’s, NL, as a way to raise funds and awareness in support of the Windsor-Essex County Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society.

Zanella died of the disease in February 2011. Her husband Elio is one of five cyclists riding alongside Belanger in her memory, with the goal of raising $40,000 for the society.

“Without the support of the society, Felicia’s family would have been financially devastated, on top of the emotional toll this disease already took on them all,” says Belanger.

He has been collecting pledges and donations, and says the campus community has been supportive, including his own department, which allowed him to add an unpaid leave to his allotted vacation time to complete the journey.

“The University is my second home,” he says. “I’ve been here 25 years.”

Learn more about the project, including how to make a donation, on the society’s website.