Lauren Parsons has set out to raise awareness about heart disease.
Two years ago, her sister’s boyfriend, Scott, died in his sleep due to heart-related complications. The couple had been dating for approximately 10 years, making Scott part of the Parsons family.
Parsons said on the birthday before Scott died, her parents gifted him a bicycle.
"He was using it a lot and he looked a lot healthier and happier when he was riding the bike," Parsons said.
Scott and his bicycle have become the inspiration for a school project Parsons has to complete for the Creative Communications program at Red River College.
Students in the program are required to complete an Independent Professional Project, a year-long project in which students develop an original and meaningful project to propose, complete and market in order to graduate.
Parsons pitched the idea of 24-Hour Heart Cycle, a 24-hour stationary bike relay in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba.
"I want to try to let people know that heart disease and stroke aren’t things that just affect people over 60, and they can happen to someone at my age," said the 26-year-old Fort Rouge resident.
On Feb. 9 and 10, 24-Hour Heart Cycle will come to life at SNAP Fitness Osborne.
24 teams of four people will cycle on the stationary bikes for one hour per team over the 24-hour period, which begins at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9 and finishes at 6 p.m. on Feb. 10.
The event is free to register, but Parsons is encouraging participants to collect pledges to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. She is suggesting a pledge goal of $100 per participant.
So far, Parsons has filled two thirds of the spaces, and needs eight more teams to participate in order to have people cycling for all 24 hours.
"As much as it’s about raising money, I think one of the things that is most significant to me, and a bit more symbolic, is to actually have the wheels of the bike spinning for a full 24 hours," Parsons said.
Parsons said she’s hoping the event will promote a healthy lifestyle and make young people realize that you can’t wait until you’re older to (think about heart disease).
"I (want to showcase) that heart disease and strokes can affect any age group," Parsons said.
To register for the event go to facebook.com/24HourHeartCycle, download the registration form and e-mail it to 24HourHeartCycle@gmail.com.
The event will include prizes for the participant who raises the most money, and a silent auction featuring prizes from an array of Osborne Village business.
For more information email 24HourHeartCycle@gmail.com or call Parsons at 204 226 4798.