The gift of exercise
RCMP combine funds to assist Villeneuve's recovery

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

NNSL (Jan 22/99) - The RCMP may be wary of peddlers -- pedalling, on the other hand, is encouraged.

Billy Villeneuve is going to pedal his way to better health thanks to the members of the Fort Simpson detachment, who pooled their money to buy him a stationary bike. The order was made at Christmas -- the delivery came last Thursday.

"Oh wow. It's really nice," Villeneuve said as Const. Dan Quevillon and Cpl. Steve Corcoran carried the piece of equipment into his house.

"Thank you very much... I'm going to exercise as often as I can," said Villeneuve, and it wasn't long before he climbed onto the bike to test it out.

"We've got to show you how to use the computer," said an excited Quevillon, who explained the automated distance, timer, speed and calories-burned functions.

Villeneuve suffered physical side-effects after slipping into a coma as a result of a slip and fall two-and-a-half years ago. The trauma caused a loss of memory too.

"It's just like I was missing a year," he explained. "A year went by and I didn't even know where it went."

His rehabilitation efforts have been promising. He started out in a wheelchair, progressed to a walker and now uses a cane to get around. Villeneuve has been doing resistance exercises at the Deh Cho Friendship Centre but now he has the option of staying home to get his cardiovascular workout.

"What's nice about this is that it won't rain on you, you won't get cold and you can watch TV too," Quevillon suggested.

The support that Villeneuve has received from his friends -- like Jim Nahanni, who drives him wherever he needs to go -- and from members of the community has made him very grateful.

"This is surprising," he said. "I didn't think I'd get that much help, really. Anyway, I appreciate it very much."

A jovial Quevillon threw in a few words of advice before departing.

"You've got to go slow, if you go too fast you'll go into the wall," he said, adding, "Now, I don't want to see you jogging in town in three weeks."