A Manitoba family is in mourning today after a grandfather that was cycling from Winnipeg to South Dakota to raise money for his sick granddaughter died from injuries he sustained in a collision with a vehicle last week.
Jean-Pierre Petit, better known as J.P. to many, decided to bike from Winnipeg to Kidney Springs Park, in Hot Springs, South Dakota to raise funds for granddaughter Evelyn who was recently the recipient of a kidney transplant thanks to her father. J.P. had made it to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, when the collision occurred.
His son, Marquis, made the announcement on J.P.'s Facebook fundraising page Monday morning. "The Petit family wishes to inform everyone who has been following along with the Cycle4Eveline journey that our wonderful JP - husband, father, grandfather, hero - has succumbed to his injuries."
J.P. was an experienced ultra-marathon runner but decided to challenge himself by doing "something more difficult than I ever have in the past," he wrote on his Facebook page.
The collision occurred just before noon on Thursday, June 9, on Interstate 29, about 27 kilometres north of Brookings, South Dakota, according to a report from the Watertown Public Opinion. The paper reports that J.P. was travelling on the southbound shoulder of the highway when he was struck by a southbound transport truck.
"JP has always been focused on the health and safety of others. He leaves behind an amazing legacy of this which includes his recent support of his son and granddaughter during their kidney donation experience, and then his fundraising plan in support of Eveline’s kidney transplant and for other kids who need nephrology care," Marquis says in the post. "And now, with this legacy ride, he is donating his organs to help save more lives."
The 65-year-old truck driver was uninjured in the collision. Charges were pending for the driver, according to the Public Opinion.
"J.P.'s wife Carmelle and their three children Marquis, Julien, Janique, and their spouses, and many grandchildren are all deeply proud of JP and so grateful for his presence in their lives.
“God provided us a miracle of a man who is leaving a legacy of love, selflessness, and heroism.”
Marquis says for those who wish to honour J.P. at this time, you can give at Cycle4Eveline or leave a tribute gift in memory of J.P. at Goodbear.ca. Both will continue to support JP's final goal.