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Local Liberals “Big Bike Ride” hits close to home

By Megan Mattice

Three months ago, Ian Batt didn’t think he would ever be able to drive a car again, let alone ride a bike built for 30 people.

Yesterday, Batt, along with other Prince Edward- Hasting’s federal Liberals, pedaled the Heart and Stroke Foundations’s “Big Bike” around Belleville to raise money in support of advocacy and research.

Batt said this is a cause that hits very close to home.

“It’s true. I had an, I guess you could call it an ‘adventure’, of my own,” said Batt.

It was a cold and snowy night last March when Batt thought he tripped while walking up his porch steps.

Little did he know that he hadn’t trip on anything, but was actually having a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke.

“I missed all the signs. Because I had thought I tripped and fell, the tingling in my right arm didn’t seem odd. My wife is a nurse and it was even unclear to her,” said Batt.

Once Batt and his wife determined that it had been a stroke, and that he was going to be alright, they decided to wait until morning to go to emergency.

That’s where doctors explained to Batt that he had had a mini-stroke.

“Although it was classified as a small stroke, the side effects were just as severe,” said Batt.

Losing feeling in his right side left Batt feeling the need to be proactive.

“When situations like mine occur, I realized that if you want to get better you need to be aware of what the doctors are saying. It’s okay to object,” said Batt.

He did just that.

To help regain control of his finer motor skills,  Batt continued with a painting class he had been a part of long before the stroke.

“It was difficult. I had a lot in common with the comedian Monty Python. I refer to him only because his limbs are always flailing about. That is honestly what it felt like for the first little while.”

He believes that he had a close connection to the Heart and Stroke Foundation even before his own little adventure.

“It’s, unfortunately, a very common thing. My friends, fellow Liberals and community have been affected by the issues we choose to ride for.”

Batt is speaking for many of the Liberal’s who raised money and rode yesterday, including Lenore Begley, the PEHFLA president.

Begley couldn’t be at the ride due to professional commitments, but she has done work with the Heart and Stroke Foundation many times before.

“The federal Liberals have taken part in the Big bike Ride every year, separately. This year, we decided to do it as a team because this fundraising event helps keep the whole community healthy,” said Begley.

When Begley does ride, she says she rides for her Mom.

Decked out in Liberal red, 29 team members rang their bells and pedaled hard to show their community how important it is to keep your heart healthy.

They collectively raised $2,412.

“It’s such a good cause. Our community deserves support and this is our way of showing that we do. It shows that we are in the trenches with them,” said Batt.