Donny Little tour to stop here Thursday

For the fourth year in a row, Donny Little will ride his bike into town to raise funds for, and promote awareness of, Brain Injury Services of Northern Ontario.
A welcome barbecue to mark his arrival is slated Thursday from 4-7 p.m. in the Safeway parking lot. Everyone is invited to attend, where Little will be accepting donations for his cause.
Little’s stop in Fort Frances is the first in his three-day tour of the Kenora/Rainy River District. He will leave Kenora tomorrow at 5 a.m. and should arrive here sometime late in the afternoon.
He then will head up to Dryden and then back to Kenora.
Reached at his home in Kenora on Tuesday, Little, himself a brain injury survivor, was in the midst of final preparations for the long journey ahead.
“The main reason I do this is so that others can benefit from my work,” he explained.
Little noted he felt physically ready for the tour, having already covered more than 700 km during months of training. He predicted it would take him no more than 12 hours to reach Fort Frances, travelling at an average speed of 18.5 km/h.
“Hopefully, I’ll be there in time for supper, but it depends on if there’s construction,” he remarked.
Little’s own life was altered by the brain injury he sustained in 1985 after he fell asleep at the wheel of his car, crashing into a rock cut. As a result of the injury, Little spent a year first in a coma and then in and out of the hospital.
He has since struggled with his short-term memory.
Still, Little is an enthusiastic crusader for BISNO today–and plans to continue his annual bike tour for as long as he can.
“Until either location or something else keeps me from doing it, I’ll keep doing the tour,” he said.
He already has raised $19,000 for the cause in the past three years through corporate and private sponsorships, including $4,000 in the months preceeding this year’s tour.
His efforts and those of his supporters currently genrate most of BISNO’s funding. The non-profit organization provides rehabilitative and support services to individuals with a brain injury.
But the tour is about more than just raising money, Little stressed.
“It’s to raise funds and increase services, but it’s also to improve people’s personal outlook on brain injury survivors,” he said.
“If you see a person who walks differently or has trouble reaching for something, you’ll be more understanding . . . so that we all may be treated with the same respect.”