May 21, 2019 8:00 am
Updated: May 21, 2019 2:24 pm

Trio bikes from Kansas to Winnipeg to raise awareness, money for eating disorders

WATCH: A group of friends from Wichita, Kansas biked 16,000 kilometres to shine light on anorexia and other eating disorders. Global's Marek Tkach reports.


Paul Harrison lost his daughter to anorexia in May of 2018.

Later that year, his life-long friend, Rick Stephens, suggested the two should ride their bikes from their home town in Wichita, Kan. to Winnipeg to raise money and awareness for anorexia and other eating disorders.

The duo rode their bikes from Wichita to Winnipeg in 2016 for the Alzheimer’s’ Association, when Harrison’s father was struggling with the disease.

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Harrison says Stephens pushed him to make the journey yet again to take his mind off of things.

The duo branded the journey as Bridget’s Wreath bike ride.

READ MORE: Manitoba bikers rally for motorcycle safety awareness

“She would sit there and pretend to eat, push her food around being incredibly uncomfortable the whole time,” Harrison said of his daughter Bridget’s struggle with anorexia. “It robs them of the social interaction that other people would enjoy.”

Harrison’s brother, Kelly, joined in on the ride after Stephens injured his hip and drove behind the cyclists for support.

Kelly’s daughter also struggles with a mental illness of her own.

“I feel like I’ve aged a lot because of it. It’s just the constant stress of not knowing your child or loved one is going to be alive the next day sometimes,” he said.

READ MORE: Manitoba bikers rally for motorcycle safety awareness

Paul Harrison says progress is being made around providing support to people suffering through eating disorders, but more needs to be done.

“When Bridget was first diagnosed it wasn’t even recognized as an illness, so insurance in the states would even cover it,” he explained.

The trio hope their 1,600-kilometre journey helps direct more support towards eating disorders.

Stolen bike:

Kelly Harrison’s bike was stolen from the Fort Garry hotel’s parkade on Saturday evening.

If any has information or saw a bike being taken from the parkade, the Harrison’s are asking you to message their Facebook page.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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