Get Involved

As the Cycle to Walk campaign rolls across Canada, Ramesh and the road team may be stopping in your community or passing close by. This may be your opportunity to help out the campaign with our various needs. Please read the following and see if you are able to provide us with a little help along the way:

  • Set up a fundraiser or speaking engagement in your community. Contact our office for ideas, or give us yours. You can also create your own fundraising page online! Click here to do so.
  • Identification of potential speaking engagements at local service clubs, churches or interested businesses and organizations. As time will be limited in each community, we would like to know what if any groups might be interested, but would like to reserve the ability to confirm actual arrangements ourselves.
  • Help us to identify services available in your community: i.e. swimming pools; bicycle repair shops; massage therapists; physiotherapy clinics; sports medicine physician offices; media outlets and any other community information that would be helpful to the team on their journey.
  • Route information: i.e., pullouts; rest areas; service stations; road conditions (construction; narrow; road restrictions; dangerous points, etc.); police and other regulatory authority requirements and contact numbers; local road and weather conditions that might be expected for that time of year; restaurant and hotel/motel/campground accommodations.
  • The possibility of donation of hotel rooms or billeting would be very valuable to us as we are operating on a very limited budget and the road team will be in need of a place to rest their heads at night.

We appreciate any help you may be able to provide! Please get in touch if you can help in any way.

Become a Sponsor

Cycle to Walk is actively seeking sponsorship to help Ramesh and the road crew make their way across Canada. The following outlines our levels of sponsorship and the benefits of sponsoring the campaign.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information, and we hope you consider becoming a sponsor of Cycle to Walk.

If you’re interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities or to read our funding prospectus, please e-mail Shelley at or call toll-free 1.866.599.0045.

We’d love to hear from you.

Keep Informed

RSS Feed

You can subscribe to this website’s two RSS feeds, which will allow you to receive notifications of blog updates as they are posted or notifications as events are posted to the Cycle to Walk Events page.

Here are the links to the two available feeds:

  • Follow Ramesh’s Journey RSS feed
  • Cycle to Walk Events RSS feed

What are news feeds?

News feeds allow you to see when websites have added new content. You can get the latest headlines as soon as they are published, without having to visit the websites you have taken the feed from.

Feeds are also known as RSS. There is some discussion as to what RSS stands for, but most people plump for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. In essence, the feeds themselves are just web pages, designed to be read by computers rather than people.

How do I start using feeds?

In general, the first thing you need is something called a news reader. This is a piece of software that checks the feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, and some of which are downloadable applications.

Browser-based news readers let you catch up with your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer, whereas downloadable applications let you store them on your main computer, in the same way that you either download your e-mail using Outlook, or keep it on a web-based service like Hotmail.

Once you have chosen a news reader, all you have to do is to decide what content you want it to receive. In the case of this website, simply go to the RSS link – available on the welcome page, and throughout the rest of the site.

If you click on the button you can subscribe to the feed in various ways, including by dragging the URL of the feed into your news reader or by cutting and pasting the same URL into a new feed in your news reader. Most sites that offer feeds use a similar orange button, but some may just have a normal web link.

Some browsers, including Firefox, Opera and Safari, automatically check for feeds for you when you visit a website, and display an icon when they find one. This can make subscribing to feeds much easier. For more details on these, please check their websites.

How do I get a news reader?

There is a range of different news readers available and new versions are appearing all the time.

Different news readers work on different operating systems, so you will need to choose one that will work with your computer. Some of the options available to you are listed below.

Please note that this list is provided as a courtesy, and will not be updated or maintained. Cycle to Walk does not endorse or recommend any of these programs.

Windows News Readers

Newz Crawler

Mac OS X

Apple Safari


My Yahoo!


Mozilla Firefox
Internet Explorer 7

The RSS information on this page is adapted from content created by the BBC. Cycle to Walk is not responsible for content on any of the linked sites.

Journey’s Blog

Day 1 – Arrival in Delhi

I have safely arrived in Delhi, India after spending the last 35 hours waiting either on a plane or in an airport. I’m ecstatic to be here and to meet some of the people who have been working so hard to make India polio free. After clearing immigration and customs, I was welcomed by Mr. Stanley Samuel who is in charge of Logistics and Operations with the Indian National Polio Plus Committee. Stanley took me from the airport to the Rotary office, and on they way, he pointed out a banner hanging over a busy street that was promoting the recent Immunization Day that took place on November 9. One of Stanley’s responsibilities is to ensure the promotion of Rotary Immunization Days.

This afternoon I spent some time at the Indian National PolioPlus Committee office and met Communications Associate Nima Chodon. I’d like to express my gratitude to Nima, and to Petina Dixon, who is the Lead Media Coordinator for Rotary PolioPlus based in Evanston, IL, USA. Both Petina and Nima have worked very hard over the last several weeks arranging the logistics of my participation in the upcoming Sub-NID in Uttar Pradesh and Rotary’s Zone Institute in Agra.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with other staff in the Rotary PolioPlus office as well: Mrs. Prima Pravin, who works at the front desk and reception, Mrs. Anita Agarwal, who is the executive secretary, and Mr. Aby Abraham, who is responsible for information and technology.  Rotary has always worked as a team in order to make progress in the fight against polio. It’s wonderful to meet so many people who work every day to make the dream of a polio free world become reality.

Over the next couple of days I will be meeting with Mr. Deepak Kapur, Chairman of Rotary International’s India National Polioplus Committee. I’ll also have the opportunity to meet Mr. Lokesh Gupta, who is the manager of the program.
Tonight I participated in my first Indian media interview when I spoke with Prashant Nanda, a Special Correspondent with the Indo-Asian News Service. I have learned through Nima that Prashant often covers human interest stories. It’s great that Prashant and the Indo-Asian News Service continue to cover the hard work that is being done at the grassroots level here in India, as well as covering the overall progress being made with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Day 2 – Journey to the Rotary Zone Institute in Agra, India

This morning Nima and I departed Delhi around 8am destined for the Rotary Zones 5 & 6A Institute in Agra, which is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh. We spent 6 hours driving through streets littered with garbage, beggars, wandering cows, cars, buses, motorbikes, cyclists, and pedestrians going every which way.

When Nima and I were waiting to cross into the State of Uttar Pradesh, I saw a polio survivor dragging himself along the ground. This horrific sight raised many emotions in me, as well as questions. How could someone even hesitate to receive the polio vaccine? It’s inexpensive and available, and it prevents a lifetime of suffering. If you know you have not received the polio vaccine and you are even remotely questioning its value, I would ask you to think of what I saw today in India: A young adult, probably around 26, covered in dirt. He has small, shriveled legs, and he crawls on the ground.  His situation could have been prevented if only he had received the polio vaccine. If Ron and Jan Ferris didn’t adopt me into their Canadian family, this could have been my life.

We were welcomed to the Zone Institute by Lokesh Gupta, Manager of the Indian National PolioPlus Committee, as well as Rotarian Deepak Kapur, Chairman of the committee. In the afternoon I was invited to attend a media conference where the Indian media had an opportunity to give feedback on the Indian National Polio Eradication Program. The following people were present to address questions and feedback the media brought up: Rotary International Director Ashok M. Mahajan, Rotarian Ashok Saxena, past Rotary International President from India Rajendra K. Saboo and Rotarian and member of the of the International PolioPlus Committee, Kalyan Banerjee.

I was impressed to see the number of media outlets that showed great interest in India’s polio eradication effort. In Canada, many people think that we have already eradicated this dreadful disease, and because of this, many Canadian media outlets do not cover global polio eradication efforts. Media is essential to ensure that communities are aware of the current polio situation and to inform every community member of their responsibility in the fight against polio. Thank you to all of the Indian media outlets for taking the time out of your day to attend the Rotary Zone Institute here in Agra, India. It’s the positive stories you will write about the successes of the fight against polio that will inspire the world to finish the job. Soon, hopefully, we will live in a polio-free world.

Day 3 – Rotary Zone Institute – Agra, India

Today I visited with Dr. Bob Scott and his wife Ann before attending a number of meetings. Dr. Scott is the Chairman of the Rotary International PolioPlus Committee and past Chairman of the Trustees of the Rotary Foundation. We first met in May 2006 at the Rotary District 5010 Conference in Juneau, Alaska. I had attended that conference with Dr. Allon Reddoch from the Rotary Club of Whitehorse. Dr. Scott was very pleased to hear about the success of the Cycle to Walk campaign. Rotarians around the world – all 1.2 million of them – have always been known for their generosity towards both local and global humanitarian service projects.

This morning, I was pleased to learn that Rotarians attending the Zone Institute together raised US$300,000 at a dinner event last night. These monies will be directed to the Rotary Foundation, whose mission is to help Rotarians advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, education, and the alleviation of poverty. The morning provided opportunities for RI Director Ashok Mahajan, Dr. Bob Scott, K.R. Ravindran, Kalyan Banerji, James Robinson, and Vikas Gora to address the Rotarian Delegates about the Rotary Foundation, its future and vision, Rotary International’s Humanitarian Grants Program, and Rotary Peace Fellowships. Later, Rotary Clubs and members who have donated significant amounts of their personal resources in order to demonstrate Rotary’s Motto of service above self were recognized.

I learned much more about what Rotarians are doing to fight polio in India over the course of the afternoon. I spoke with Deepak Kapur, Institute Chairman and Chairman of the RI Indian National PolioPlus Committee, at a meeting with trainers of the incoming district governors. Muslim children were present during the afternoon’s polio eradication session and they declared their commitment to work towards a polio-free world to everyone present, including Rotary International President Dong Kurn Lee. Mr. Lee travelled with his wife Young from South Korea to attend the Zone Institute.

This afternoon I had an opportunity to share my personal experience with polio, thank everyone for their efforts in the fight against polio and remind people why we need to continue working together to rid the world of this horrible disease. As I stood in front of so many young leaders from the Muslim community, I was so happy to see such excitement to work together towards the same common goal.

Day 4 – Arrival in the District of Moradabad in the State of Uttar Pradesh

I want to start off by thanking Rotary Zone Institute Chairman Deepak Kapur for allowing me to attend the Rotary Zone 5 & 6A Institute. It was a pleasure to meet so many committed, caring, and generous Rotarians who are working so hard towards making our world a cleaner, healthier, safer place to live. After saying goodbye to Lokesh Gupta, Manager of the Indian National Polioplus Committee, Nima and I headed towards Moradabad via taxi for the Sub-National Immunization Day which will occur tomorrow.

It took about six hours to drive through the heavily congested streets; the taxi dodged big buses, wandering cows, thousands of cyclists, stray dogs, and auto-rickshaws. Poliovirus is spread predominantly where people have had contact with contaminated water, which is linked to poor sanitation conditions. It is no wonder why polio is still an issue here in India: on our way I saw streams of water where people were excreting fecal matter, pigs rested, dogs swam, people washed themselves and laundered linens, and children played. The potent smell of feces filled my nostrils. The environment was so overwhelmingly disturbing for me to accept, yet for millions of people in India, it was nothing short of normal.

Dr. Mohammad Arif Khan, Field Programme Co-ordinator for the Polio Eradication Efforts here in India, welcomed us to Moradabad. He arranged for me to meet with Dr. Ashutosh Agrawal, who is the Sub-Regional Team Leader for the District of Moradabad, and helped set up times to meet with other doctors, team members and partnering organizations so I could learn more about the preparation, logistics, and ground work needed to run a successful National Immunization Day.

Dr. Khan gave us an overview of the current polio situation in Moradabad, and the role that each partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative plays. The partnering organizations take on many different responsibilities: The National Polio Surveillance Program and the World Health Organization are responsible for surveillance, monitoring, data collection, and training of health staff; the Government of India provides resources, implementation, human resources and funding; UNICEF provides social mobilization and communications, and Rotary provides funds, advocacy, and social-mobilization.

The polio program has divided the District of Moradabad into 22 planning units. There are 321 areas which have been identified as high risk by the National Polio Surveillance and the Social Mobilization Teams. 208 of these high risk areas are rural and 113 are urban. On Sunday there will be fixed immunization booths in both rural and urban settings. Teams of three – consisting of vaccinators and supervisors – will be mixed up with locals from each community, along with medical professionals and members from the Indian Government. Not only will there be fixed polio vaccination booths, but there will be two-member teams who will go out to transit points such as train stations, and temporary settlements. Throughout the week, there will be three-member teams responsible to visit approximately 100 homes a day within the entire District of Moradabad. As of October 8th, 2008, 795,515 houses have been visited. After one or two days of mass polio vaccinations, B teams will be deployed into the community. B teams consist of two people – generally from local NGOs as well as doctors. These two-person teams are tasked to visit about 50 homes a day. People who still haven’t been immunized will be visited at their homes by professionals as part of the Routine Immunization Visits.

In recent years, the following improvements have been made to ensure the Polio Eradication is as effective as possible: increased female workers involved in program, paid volunteers in some of the resistant communities, evening house visits to accommodate those working during the day, diversified community participation from NGOs, Rotarians, Civil Defence, etc., changing colour of marking pens from time to time, Indian Government supervisors, development of newborn tracking booklets, and free health clinics in order to build a stronger rapport with community members and to address any issues that health providers are concerned with. As you can imagine, there is a lot of work that has been and continues to be done in the fight against polio within the District of Moradabad.

To end the day, Dr. Khan, Nima and I met with Dr. D. P. Singh, Chief Medical Officer for the District of Moradabad, and a few other doctors. After a short visit with Dr. Singh, we visited the local newspaper where I discussed with reporters my experience with polio, the success of the polio eradication efforts in the District of Moradabad, and why we need to continue the fight against polio.

Tomorrow is a big day for me: I will participate in the vaccination effort first-hand by giving children the gift of a polio-free life. How exciting!

Day 5 – Participation in the Sub-National Immunization Day- Moradabad, India

Today was the reason for my travelling to India: to participate in the Sub-National Immunization Day here in the District of Moradabad. Dr. Khan, Nima and I all went to participate in the immunization activities which were occurring at the railway station. I vaccinated my first child in the morning and wow – what an amazing, overwhelming, experience. Giving those two drops of the polio vaccination to that child this morning was a miraculous dream come true for me. Those two drops will protect him for life against a disease which is so debilitating and socially isolating.

At around mid-morning we were joined by Kevin Hansen and his Wife Krista who travelled from the USA to participate in today’s activities and shoot some video of the Sub-NID. From the railway station we travelled into the urban areas of Pukhta and Karula where booths were set-up to vaccinate children. It was wonderful to be able to vaccinate more children and meet all of the hard working volunteers and staff at the booths. As we travelled on the busy roads ways to our next destination of the Lalpur Village, I noticed many public awareness signs about children receiving the polio vaccination as well as large banners that hung across roadways and on large buildings to make people aware of the National Immunization Day.

When we arrived in Lalpur we were greeted by many villagers who welcomed us into their community. It was great to meet with staff and volunteers at the immunization booth, vaccinate children, and then speak to teachers and students at a local school. I was pleased to hear that the Indian government directs all schools to be open during NIDs – even if they take place on a Sunday. This ensures that all children have the opportunity to receive the polio vaccine. Some of the teachers explained to me through translated conversation that all students under five years of age will receive the drops of the polio vaccine, and those students that are older will go out into their community to encourage families to bring children under 5 out of their homes to be immunized. This is part of the Social Mobilization Program. It’s wonderful to see young students take a such an important leadership role within their community to help make this a polio-free world.

Later on I met with leaders at the local mosque who announced the NID from its speakers. There has been great cooperation for the National Immunization Day from this heavily populated Muslim community. They will make announcements prior to and during the National Immunization Day as well as throughout the week when the house to house visits are occurring.

There has been great progress made in delivering the polio vaccination to India’s Muslim communities recent years: Rotary and its partners have been successful in establishing what is called the Muslim-Ulama Committee. This committee was established to address the growing number of concerns from the Muslim community that the polio vaccination program was a ploy to sterilize Muslim children. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative was established and is working to protect the children of the world. It’s great to see Muslim leaders come together with health care professionals and community leaders to support polio eradication efforts. Early in the evening I had an opportunity to travel to the Karula Miau Colony to personally thank members or the Muslim-Ulama Committee as well as members of nearby communities.

Polio does not discriminate nor does it respect any boundaries. It doesn’t matter what religion one believes, language one speaks, or culture one lives in – we all must come together as a global community to eradicate polio from our world. It’s beautiful to see so much cooperation between Muslims, Hindus, government and non-government organizations, citizens of India and citizens of the world to come together and forward the progress of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Tonight as I walked through streets, Dr. Khan said that people were recognizing my face from a newspaper article printed earlier in the day. It’s wonderful to see media shed light on the polio eradication efforts here, and and it’s even better to see entire communities get excited about being part of this truly remarkable global health initiative.

Today’s activities ended with large wrap up meeting with Dr. Sahena, the Chief Medical Officer,  other doctors, and all of partnering organizations involved with the Sub-NID in Moradabad today. The meeting was chaired by Amit Kumar Ghosh who is the District Magistrate in Moradabad. This was a great way for each participant to give feedback on the program. I had an opportunity to personally thank everyone for their hard work and dedication in their efforts to bring an end to polio. It makes me so proud to know that I was born in a country with people that give up so much of themselves to work hard and cooperate for the spirit of humanity and the future of our children.


Day 6 – House-to-House Participation in the Sub-NID – Moradabad, India

Today started with a pleasant visit with past District Governor of Rotary District 3100 and member of the India National PolioPlus Committee, Mr. Sudhir Gupta. Mr. Gupta was pleased to hear of the success of yesterday’s Sub-NID activities. After our meeting, Dr. Khan, Nima, and I drove to a rural village where we visited participants at a community centre. We were greeted with an overwhelming standing ovation and were welcomed with flowers. The villagers were very excited that we came to visit with them.

While we were visiting, I was able to share my experience with polio and encourage both participants and staff to live their dreams, have fun, and to continue to be community leaders by promoting the polio eradication program. We then left the community centre to participate in a house-to-house NID. The polio vaccination teams visit approximately 100 houses a day over the course of the week to deliver the polio vaccination to children under five years of age. The polio vaccine needs to be kept cool, so the container we used to carry it in was full of ice packs.

The team marks the main door of each residence with either a P or and an X. A P indicates that the child did indeed receive the polio vaccination, while an X indicates that they have not. Other information, which is also marked on the main door of the residence, is the date of the visit, and the total number of house visits the team made for the day.

After participating in the house-to-house polio vaccination activities, Nima and I said goodbye to Dr. Khan and all of the hard working team members. The team provided me with promotional goodies to take back to Canada so I can continue to promote the good work of Rotary’s PolioPlus program. After our goodbyes, hugs, pictures and many thank-yous, Nima and I took a four-hour drive back to Delhi where I will a flight back to Canada early tomorrow morning.

En-route to Delhi we took a break and stopped at a little place to get some food and chai. As I sat and ate my food, I noticed to a polio survivor who was crawling. He had something padding his knees and he had sandals on his hands. During my visit I was happy to learn that some of the Rotary clubs in India have organized polio corrective camps – which focus on providing polio survivors with corrective surgeries, braces, and crutches. The World Health Organization says that there are approximately 10-20 million polio survivors currently living around our world today. Many crawl around just like the one I saw today at that little food stop in Moradabad. We need to continue the fight against polio as a global community. If we don’t, millions more will be affected.


Day 7 – Departure from India and Final Thoughts

The wake up call at my hotel room came at 2:30 am, and I was in a taxi en-route to the Indira Gandhi International Airport an hour later. I boarded a plane for London Heathrow at 6:30 am for a nine-hour flight and then another 13 hours of flying back to Whitehorse, Yukon. The journey back to Canada provided a lot of time to reflect on the past week in India. It was a great opportunity to be able to travel back to my country of birth and witness such caring, compassion and generosity from so many people from so many walks of life.

We have never been as close to eradicating polio then we are today. We have come this far because of the hard work which is being done on every level of what is the largest global public health initiative in world history: the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Rotary International and its partners have truly demonstrated commitment in every way towards polio eradication. With that one goal in mind, there is concentrated program development, partnership building, community rapport building, financial contributions, and an overall belief in not giving up on the world’s children. These people are working so hard to deliver us a polio-free world.

It makes me so proud to be born in a country like India when I witnessed so much corporation by so many people for the common goal of eradicating polio. On the flight to London, I met a woman travelling from Delhi to New York with her 19 month old daughter who she just adopted from India. I explained to her a little about my adoption story and my participation in Rotary International’s PolioPlus Program. I congratulated her on the addition to her family and then asked if her daughter had received the polio vaccination. She said Yes! with a big smile.

The polio eradication effort will only be successful if we vaccinate everyone. We can not afford to become complacent regarding the immunization of our children, and we must continue to raise funds for polio eradication efforts. I can’t thank Rotarians around the world and the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative enough for allowing me to be a part of this exciting time in world history. We are going to eradicate polio from the world, and it’s because of all the hard work, commitment and belief in this dream that it will happen.

Take Care,

Ramesh Ferris
Polio Survivor from Coimbatore, India
Adopted and now living in Whitehorse, Yukon Canada

Our Team

Cycle to Walk is a true community effort.

Initiated by Whitehorse Rotarians, who accepted Ramesh Ferris’ proposal to hand cycle across Canada to raise awareness and funds for polio eradication and the rehabilitation for its poorest victims, the project has grown far beyond Rotary.

Other service clubs, churches, governments and people from all walks of life have come forward to help. They have contributed money, as well as much needed in-kind donations. And they have given freely of their time and special skills.

The Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Yukon, has given the campaign important start-up assistance. This is in recognition of the potential public-health service the campaign will give by promoting immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases.

The Road Team

The Road Team, (L to R):
Doug and Bertha Ayers, Ramesh Ferris, and Chris Madden

The Road Team will consist of 4 – 7 people headed up byDoug and Bertha Ayers, the anchors of the team who will be going the distance with Ramesh across Canada joined off and on by various other team members at various points along the way. They will be traveling in a motor home which will double as rolling headquarters and their home. There will also be one other vehicle to be used for reconnaissance to ensure the safety of the team and the public, and to tow a trailer containing spare bicycle parts and two other handcycles that Ramesh will use during his journey to minimize down time due to mechanical problems.

Chris Madden, Community Liaison will be traveling slightly ahead to liaise with community groups and media representatives. He will also be writing articles and contributing to the Cycle to Walk Blog.

Follow the journey on the Blog.

The Home Team

The Home Team:
Pixie Ingram and Shelley Williamson

Shelley Williamson, Executive Director

Shelley works with a team of steadfast volunteers. Previously, Shelley worked with the Yukon Government as Assistant to the Deputy Minister of Economic Development and joined Cycle to Walk in January 2008. Shelley is responsible for managing every aspect of the operations of the Cycle to Walk Campaign.

Pixie Ingram, Assistant to Executive Director

Pixie joined our office in April and has been a tremendous asset to the team. Pixie works closely with the Executive Director, the road team and the Route Champions in all aspects of coordination and planning.

Cycle to Walk Route Champions

It takes a lot of work and people-power to coordinate the activities of the Cycle to Walk campaign across the country. Event coordination, billeting and establishing contacts in every province that Ramesh and the road team pass through involves hours of logistical coordination to ensure that the campaign maintains a high profile. Each province has a dedicated volunteer in Whitehorse who ensures that every detail, from accommodation to high profile events, is set up for the team’s arrival. These coordinators, known as Cycle to Walk Route Champions, are as follows:

  • BC – Cycle to Walk office team
  • Alberta – Ivan Zenovitch
  • Saskatchewan and Manitoba – Mary Reddoch
  • Ontario – Kevin Rumsey
  • Quebec – Hélène Beaulieu
  • Atlantic Canada – Carmen Gibbons

We are extremely fortunate to have these dedicated and enthusiastic Route Champions on our team.

The Ramesh Ferris Cycle to Walk Society

The Cycle to Walk campaign is organized and administered by The Ramesh Ferris Cycle to Walk Society; a nonprofit society, registered under The Yukon Societies Act as well as with Revenue Canada. It has a committee structure utilizing volunteers for the Society’s nine Committees.

Board of Directors

Cycle to Walk Board of Directors
Not Pictured: Doug Janzen, Bob Lorimer, Doug Ayers

The Society has a committed Board of Directors that brings a broad range of experience and expertise to Cycle to Walk.

Whatever their background; professional, business, or government – all share the view that we don’t just live in houses, but in our communities and in the world. Everyone has lived somewhere else in Canada, and has given years of service to the communities in which they have lived, as well as in their Yukon home.

Click on a director’s name below to read about them.

Allon Reddoch MD CCFP, President

Dr. Reddoch was the president of the Canadian Medical Association (1998-99) and is currently the Chief Medical Consultant for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health & Safety Board. As a Rotarian and family physician, Allon has taken an active interest in polio eradication since the inception of PolioPlus in 1985 and provides leadership to the Cycle to Walk Board of Directors.

Valerie Royle, MBA, CDMP, Vice-President

Valerie is President & CEO of the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health & Safety Board and is an online instructor in the areas of marketing, business communications and human resources for Memorial University of Newfoundland and in disability management for the National Institute of Disability Management. She is responsible for the corporate organization of the Society as well as assisting several of the Society’s Committees.

P.I. (Mal) Malloch, Chair

Mal is a self-employed management consultant who brings years of government, private sector and volunteer experience to his clients throughout the Yukon. His organizational and inter-personal skills are critical in ensuring the Society’s meetings are chaired efficiently and productively while also bringing a practical focus to many Cycle to Walk issues.

Doug Janzen, Treasurer

Doug is the manager of Scotiabank, Whitehorse as well as a Rotarian and volunteer advisor on a number of Yukon organizations. Cycle to Walk benefits from Doug’s 27 years of banking experience through his leadership as Chair of the Society’s Finance Committee.

Lois Craig, Secretary

Lois recently retired from her position as Assistant Deputy Minister, Energy Mines & Resources with the Yukon Government and is using her experience to provide consulting services on Yukon resource sector initiatives. An active Rotarian and volunteer, Lois brings her organization skills to the role of Society Secretary as well as her vast volunteer experience as chair of the Volunteer Committee.

Doug Ayers, Director

Doug, a Rotarian, is a self-employed verbatim court reporter (on the road to semi-retirement) with many years of volunteer experience. Doug is Chair of Cycle to Walk’s Logistics Committee and along with his wife, Bertha, will accompany Ramesh from British Columbia to Newfoundland as Tour Manager.

Katherine (Kate) Brent, Director

Kate is the Human Resources Assistant for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and also owns and operates her own financial services business. Kate brings a tremendous amount of volunteer and financial expertise to the Cycle to Walk Board of Directors.

Carmen Gibbons, Director

Carmen is the Director of Health Services for the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. During her career, she has worked in banking and nursing, including community health nursing in First Nation communities. She has been a dedicated volunteer wherever her work has taken her. Carmen is responsible for the Sponsorship Committee and is the Atlantic Canada route coordinator.

Robert (Bob) Lorimer, P. Eng. Director

Bob is a professional engineer with 35 years of engineering and management consulting experience on a wide variety of infrastructure and resource development projects throughout Canada and around the world. His project experience is invaluable to the Society and he puts it to good use as the Chair of the Risk Management Committee.

Hon. Audrey McLaughlin LLD,PC,OC, Director

Audrey is well-known to Canadians as a former leader of the federal New Democratic Party (1989-95). A true citizen of the world, Audrey has worked and volunteered extensively across Canada, and internationally. She brings to Cycle to Walk, first-hand knowledge of both the devastation of polio in affected countries, and the success of immunization programs.

Bonnie Venton Ross, Director

Bonnie is Manager of Employee Communications for Northwestel and a Rotarian. She brings her considerable public relations experience to Cycle to Walk as the Communications Director.

Our Story

Ramesh Ferris


A 28-year-old polio survivor, Ramesh was adopted from India by Canadian parents in 1982. He can walk with the assistance of braces and crutches; however, his legs are not strong enough to propel a conventional bicycle. Instead, he rides using a hand cycle which relies upon his powerful upper body strength to maximize distance and speed.

He visited India in 2002 and witnessed the devastating reality for polio victims who do not have rehabilitative supports. Upon his return to Canada, Ramesh vowed to help. Cycle to Walk was born.

“As Commissioner of Yukon, I am asked to lend my support and name to many organizations. This can be a charity I firmly believe in or it can be a long-standing community organization that makes a great contribution.

When a young fellow that I have known since he arrived in the Yukon as a child, approached me along with the Rotary Club to support his initiative and become the Honourary Chair for the “Cycle to Walk,” I did not hesitate. I did not hesitate because his cause is pure and Ramesh Ferris is someone who has the focus and drive to complete his dream of hand cycling across Canada.”

– The Honourable Geraldine Van Bibber, Commissioner of Yukon

Cycle to Walk Campaign

  • April 12, 2008: anniversary of the release of Salk’s polio vaccine. Ramesh Ferris will begin to hand cycle 7,200 km from Victoria BC to Capee Spear NL to raise money and awareness for polio
  • Ramesh will cover 400 km every ten days for six months on a 27-speed hand cycle
  • He will consume 5,000 calories worth of food per day to fuel his journey
  • Ramesh will visit schools, service clubs, healthcare providers and various levels of government along the route
  • He will be accompanied by a support team to ensure the journey is safe and successful.

Goals of Cycle to Walk


  1. Eradicate – 75% of proceeds from fundraising activities will be contributed to Rotary International’s PolioPlus program via the Rotary Foundation of Canada to help conduct mass immunizations in endemic and at-risk regions,
  2. Rehabilitate – 20% of proceeds will go to help with humanitarian rehabilitation projects (20%),
  3. Educate – 5% of monies raised will be used to and to educate Canadians about polio and advocating their continued immunization (5%) through the Ramesh Ferris Cycle to Walk Society. As part of its mission, the Cycle to Walk campaign will educate Canadians in a direct, personal way about polio and deliver the message that until the world is certified ‘polio-free’, Canadians must continue to immunize, for their own protection, and to assist the global polio eradication effort.

Raising funds is a major part of the Cycle to Walk mission to offset funding shortfalls for global immunization and rehabilitation projects.

The Goal

Polio (poliomyelitis, or poliovirus) – source:

  • Enters through mouth; multiplies in tonsils and lymph nodes. Proceeds to gastrointestinal tract.
  • Virus multiplies in intestines and spreads via feces (diaper changes, contaminated water, poor hygiene, etc.).
  • Can cause paralysis within hours and attacks motor neurons in the brain stem, affecting breathing.
  • More than 10 million children will be paralyzed in the next 40 years if the world fails to capitalize on its US$4 billion global investment in eradication.
  • Historically, polio has been the world’s greatest cause of disability.
  • A single dose of vaccine can cost as little as US60¢.

There is no cure for polio, but the polio vaccine has been in widespread use since April 12, 1955.

he Goal

1953: Polio epidemic peaks in Canada with one of the highest incidences of infection ever recorded in the world.

1985: Rotary International made the eradication of polio a priority and formed PolioPlus; the original goal was to eradicate polio through immunization by 2000. That goal has not been met.

1988: Inspired by success of Rotary International’s PolioPlus program, the World Health Organization (WHO) introduces an initiative to eradicate polio by 2005. That goal has not been met.

Since 1955, worldwide instances of polio have dropped 99%.

Polio in the Developed World

Polio is literally an airplane ride away.

Like people in other developed countries where national immunization programs have protected generations from the devastations of polio since the introduction of the Salk (1954) and Sabin (1961) vaccines, Canadians have come to feel so safe from the disease, that many now consider it unnecessary to immunize their children.

In today’s age of frequent, international travel, all non-immunized people are at risk no matter where they live. Polio is literally an airplane ride away.

In July 2007, a positive case of polio was confirmed in Australia, as was the case in 2006 in Singapore. The GPEI News also reported the isolation of wild poliovirus (wpv) in the sewer water of the city of Geneva in August 2007. It is “due to high vaccination coverage and good sanitation” that detection of the virus was not considered to “represent a significant risk of outbreak.”

Polio in Canada

If asked, most Canadians would say that polio is “solved.” So, educating Canadians about polio, the vaccines and advocating continued immunization is absolutely necessary.

Polio is not solved.

In Canada, the immunization rate against polio is at 89%; leaving nearly four million Canadians (11%) vulnerable to this viral infection. According to WHO calculations, the rate of immunization is presently low enough to put Canada at risk for at least localized outbreaks.

“As long as a single child remains infected with the poliovirus, children in all countries are at risk of contracting the disease. The poliovirus can easily be imported into a polio-free country and can spread rapidly amongst immunized populations. Between 2003 and 2005, 25 previously polio-free countries were reinfected due to importations.” – (WHO)

Canadians should be aware that in addition to the threat of new polio infections, more than 10 million polio survivors worldwide are living without access to the rehabilitative support that would enable them to overcome the devastating physical effects of polio.


Polio in the Developing World


immunizationDespite the great success of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), spearheaded by Rotary International (R.I.), the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF, in reducing the number of new cases by 99% since 1988, the hard fact is today, polio is still very present in four countries; India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Polio remains endemic in four countries:

  • Nigeria: 264 new infections
  • India: 590 new infections
  • Pakistan: 30 new infections
  • Afghanistan: 13 new infections

Polio has re-infected the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with 41 new cases in 2007. A total of 95 instances of polio infection occurred in non-endemic countries in 2007.

A Culture of Crawlers

They are doomed to living on the ground, to getting about from place to place by crawling, using sandals over their hands to protect them and pieces of rubber tires strapped over their knees… These polio survivors without rehabilitative support are called ‘Crawlers’. They are so many as to constitute a ‘Culture of Crawlers.’

They need our help.

Year-to-date infections in 2007 Source: