Cross-Canada cyclist turns tragedy into mission to help others

After becoming high school sweethearts, Adam felt he and Jackie would be together forever.

“We were just so connected,” Adam says. “We also had so much respect and appreciation for each other.”

Getting married to Jackie was inevitable. The pride Adam felt watching her become a mom to their two boys is still almost indescribable.

“She’s was amazing,” Adam starts crying. “She was amazing.”

He says “was” because of what happened that seemingly perfect summer day when they were playing softball together.

“I looked over to check and see that the rest of our outfield was ready,” Adam recalls. “And saw Jackie slumped in a pile.”

He ran over to try and revive her. While they waited for the ambulance, a teammate performed CPR.

“To no avail. We lost her,” Adam says. “Without warning.”

Jackie was just 31. And Adam was left a single dad to their one-year-old and three-year-old.

“More important than me falling into myself and wallowing, I had to raise two boys.”

There was no time to investigate the mystery of how his seemingly healthy young wife could suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.

Until 17 years later, when out of the blue, their oldest son Greg’s heart suddenly stopped beating, leaving him incapacitated.

“There’s probably not much that will be able to be done for him,” Adam says. “But my other boy is genetically at risk.”

Adam has since learned that Jackie and his boys have a genetic heart condition called Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC).

Adam says ARVC is like a ticking time bomb that you often can’t hear until it’s too late, and it affects seemingly healthy young people.

“We don’t want other people to feel this,” Adam says. “We’re going to fix this.”

Adam’s striving to do that by cycling across Canada to raise awareness about ARVC and funds for research.

He completed his first leg from Newfoundland to Ontario. The final leg from B.C. back to Ontario is underway now.

“We can’t always control what life throws at us,” Adam says. “But we can choose how to respond to it.”

So instead of being consumed by grief, Adam is choosing to be motivated by the one thing Jackie wanted their boys to grow-up practicing: being kind to others.