Evan Dungate decided one day recently to bike across North America and he began the journey Wednesday from Sidney on the Anacortes ferry.
The former University of Victoria student is not doing it as a lark — he’s doing it to raise money and awareness of brain research being done to reach breakthroughs in neuroscience. And for Dungate, who took engineering at UVic and had been working as a software engineer during his work term, having a healthy mind is important to him.
That was made more keen when his great uncle Rick Campbell of Sidney died in the spring after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He said his grandmother, who also lives in Sidney, has the same affliction.
“I wanted to do something meaningful so I decided to bike across North America,” Dungate said. “And my neighbour suggested I do it for a cause.
“I am definitely the type of person to wing stuff. That’s just who I am.”
So he began his research and found Chicago-based Brain Research Foundation. Dungate said it’s run by three women — who are the Foundation’s only paid staff — who work with a team of neuroscientists to assess areas where funding will do the most good and result in scientific breakthroughs.
So, donning a purple bodysuit and a hat shaped like a brain, Dungate plans to raise awareness through his ride and through his website, www.bikingforbrainresearch.com and Facebook page. There, he will update people on his journey, as well as detail the people he meets on the way.
“There are researchers out there trying actively to solve the problems that plague our minds today,” he said, adding he will be keeping track of people he talks to, asking about loved ones affected by brain issues.
Dungate added it’s an opportunity for him to learn from a lot of hard stories.
‘There is a problem, and the state of neuroscience can be lifted. We can get to a higher place of understanding. Understnading our minds is how we become better humans.”
Dungate left Sidney Wednesday and plans to be near Maryvillle, Washington State. He said he’ll be using the app Warm Showers to find places to stay along his approximate 4,000-mile ride. He figures the journey across North America will take around three months and he plans to reach New York — where he has family — before it gets too cold.
“We’ll see how far I make it.”
Dungate said his fundraising goal is $10,000, but will not make that a hard cap.