Jean-Pierre Petit's family is planning an annual bike ride to continue on his inspiring legacy after his unexpected death.
"As much as this tragedy hurts the family, we got to honour him, his legacy, and who he was," says Marquis Petit of his late father. "We need to move forward as dad would want us to."
Jean-Pierre, known often as JP, was cycling from Manitoba to South Dakota for a fundraiser for his granddaughter, Eveline. At just two years old, she needed a life-saving kidney donation, which her dad, Marquis, was able to provide. An avid runner and cyclist, her grandfather wanted to do something to help. JP came up with the fundraising idea to cycle 1,350 km total.
On the way to Kidney Springs, JP was struck by a vehicle and later succumbed to his injuries. He didn't quite make his destination but still managed to raise his goal of $20,000 for the Children's Hospital.
"We're planning to do a legacy ride that will most likely be next year," says Marquis. "This will continue to raise funds for the nephrology department and at the same time honouring dad."
Marquis shares that nothing is planned yet. The Petit family had the funeral for JP last Tuesday, on June 28.
"We're thinking of forming a foundation where we will be helping the Children's Hospital Foundation and others depending on how it grows, doing different events to try to raise money, honour dad, and keep his great work going."
Seeing the Fruit of JP's Life
Marquis looked up to his dad and was constantly inspired by his life.
"He was very selfless. If dad knew the outcome of this, he wouldn't have told us and he still would have done it. He always put his family, grandkids, my mom, ahead of his own needs. He left some big shoes to fill."
JP's cycling fundraiser did a lot more than just raise $20,000.
"What's been a huge blessing that dad didn't know is that dad's event for Eveline and the nephrology department has actually brought attention to the foundation. They have announced a new capital project for a new kidney institute of excellence in Manitoba."
The project's timeline isn't known yet, but Marquis says it's a long-term project that could take 10 or more years to complete.
"The Children's Foundation did not have the nephrology department on their radar at the beginning of this year. But due to the publicity of dad's event before the tragedy, they announced that this is part of their current capital project. There will be a memorial plaque or something in that new clinic."
Marquis donated his kidney to his younger daughter Eveline in March this year and both are healing up well.
"So because of dad's project many kids are going to benefit through this tragedy, through what he was doing, with this new clinic."
Marquis is asking that people pray for their family, that they would stay unified throughout the year ahead.