Meet Ethan: 8-Year-Old Wunderkind

Ethan & Family

The Thrilling Tour of Sufferlandria 

For nine consecutive days in February, 5,397 people around the world pedaled themselves ragged on stationary bicycles in their homes, in gyms, during lunch hours and while on vacation in The Sufferfest’s 2017 Tour of Sufferlandria. This event, dubbed “The Greatest Grand Tour of a Mythical Nation,” has developed a supportive, enthusiastic and passionate following and benefitted the Davis Phinney Foundation since 2013. 

Riders of all ages and abilities challenged themselves to nine days of suffering on indoor bicycles for glory, honor, victory and to raise funds to help people living with Parkinson’s live well today. Some Sufferlandrians, as they fondly refer to themselves, turned their suffering into fundraisers. One such Sufferlandrian caught the attention – and hearts – of many in the virtual peloton. Eight-year-old Ethan found his rhythm on his bike during the Tour of Sufferlandria, and in the process, inspired everyone. 

Ethan rode with a special purpose: his grandfather, Poppy, has Parkinson’s. He turned his Tour into a fundraiser, setting his goal at a lofty $1,000. Before the event even began, he surpassed his goal.  Other Sufferlandrians rallied behind Ethan and encouraged him to increase his goal to $10,000. He completed the Tour and exceeded his new goal. Ethan became the youngest participant and single largest fundraiser in the Tour of Sufferlandria’s five-year history.

Ethan’s father described the moment during which an exhausted Ethan looked back at his sleeping grandfather on the couch and found renewed strength to finish the stage. “No matter how hard the race is, it’s nowhere near as hard as having Parkinson’s,” Ethan noted.

As The Sufferfest’s founder, David McQuillen, summed up the event “this was nine of the most amazing days of the year in which everyone went through pain, misery and agony together. We inspired each other. The Sufferlandrian’s capacity for suffering is only matched by their generosity.”  Together, Ethan and 5,396 of his new friends raised a “staggering amount of money” for the Davis Phinney Foundation, which will go directly into programs to improve the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s.

Connie Carpenter Phinney, Tour Matron, exclaimed to the exhausted Tour participants: “What you have accomplished does matter. You have made a difference in the world. Yes, it is true, you are stronger. And the dollars raised will help others to be stronger in the face of their suffering. And that is a huge victory worth counting.”

Be The Hero Of Your Event

Join thousands of others in making a difference in the world.  You, too, can turn your passion into a fundraiser. Whether you are riding, walking or running, you can be the hero of your event by turning it into a fundraiser for the Davis Phinney Foundation.


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Comments (3)

Louis R. F. Preysz III

What great physical fitness ways like Sufferlandria contests to battle Parkinson’s. I was diagnosed with PD in 2010 and since then I have been battling the disease with prayer, exercise, and medication in that order. I do a variety of physical fitness exercise including, elliptical, treadmill, stationary bike, racquetball, boxing (non-human contact), PD exercises, walking, ping pong, fussball, etc. I plan to start aquatic swimming soon. Some days are tougher than others, but my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ always gets me through the day. I am a fighter by nature and my dad always told me “if you can’t run, walk, if you can’t walk, crawl, but move!”

Louis, we couldn’t agree more. We’re so appreciative of Ethan and the thousands of others who pedaled through the 2017 Tour of Sufferlandria to support our work. Glad to hear you’re finding plenty of ways to keep moving yourself!

Louis R. F. Preysz III

P.S. By the way I am 72 years old and do play basketball with my students, college-age cadets.

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