Meet 'Cycle Jordan.' He's leading a fundraiser to get speech therapy for kids with Down syndrome

·3 min read
Jordan Isaac built his bike out of recycled materials and painted it along with his helmet.  (The Kickback/Instagram - image credit)
Jordan Isaac built his bike out of recycled materials and painted it along with his helmet. (The Kickback/Instagram - image credit)

Jordan Isaac, along with his family and community members, are gearing up for a bike ride this Saturday at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition with a goal of raising $15,000 to pay for speech therapy for children and youth with Down syndrome.

Jordan, 20, who loves to paint, dance and cycle, was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was six months old.

"[Speech therapy] is a service that is not really accessible. It's funded up until a certain point," said Jordan's sister Stella Isaac, adding that Jordan couldn't get speech therapy past kindergarten.

The first "Cycle Jordan" fundraiser last year raised $5,000. This year, the community hopes to reach $15,000 to help Jordan, as well as Djaliatou, 7, and Saïdou, 5, gain access speech therapy.

The initiative has already raised more than $12,000, according to the fundraiser's GoFundMe page.

"We really want to make sure that we can empower Jordan, Djaliatou and Saïdou to receive the services that they need to keep being leaders in the communities and in their circles," Isaac said.

About 100 people will ride just under five kilometres on Saturday starting at the Princes' Gates, with Jordan leading the pack on his bike, which he built out of recycled materials and painted in vibrant colours.

ManDem Cycling Club/Instagram
ManDem Cycling Club/Instagram

His sister says Jordan is a natural leader.

"He teaches me so much. He does everything with passion and joy and I just learn a lot from him. So I think that if anything, he's teaching us to just do the things that we love."

Jordan has been going to speech therapy for nearly a year thanks to last year's fundraiser, and his family says he's significantly improved, speaking in fuller sentences and frequently reading.

Jordan says he likes to be called many nicknames like "The King" and "Michael Jordan," but that he now likes the name "Cycle Jordan" the most.

Jordan is a 'shining light'

The Cycle Jordan fundraiser launched last year in partnership with ManDem Cycling Club, a group that started during the pandemic and welcomes riders of all skill levels and backgrounds.

Christopher McGarrell, the founder of the group, describes Jordan as a "shining light."

"To see his personal development in the last 12 months, it's like night and day," McGarrell said.

"It's proof that the work that he's doing to help him better himself and to evolve as a person is working. So I'm looking forward to seeing him take the reins and leading us on those rides."

WATCH | 'Cycle Jordan' gears up for second annual fundraising ride on Saturday

Rosena Joseph, Jordan's mom, says the event is a symbol for anyone who's doubted Jordan or others with Down syndrome.

"You have to believe in the ability of people with special, different abilities because they have so much to give to society," Joseph said.

"Don't doubt anyone with different abilities. Just give them the opportunity to excel in whatever it is that they do."

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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