A will to give back

John Chris Beresford standing next to his black beetle car

John Beresford has been a car enthusiast all his life. Last June, he set off on an epic adventure – a 16,000-kilometre rally from China to France. But for John, the journey started a long time ago with the love of his life, Deirdre.

John and his wife were living in Alberta in the 1980s when Deirdre was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. While Deirdre stayed active, including working as an Arthritis Society volunteer after the couple moved to British Columbia in 1990, the disease began to take its toll.

The many surgeries, treatments, injuries and hospitalizations eventually made Deirdre frail and she passed away in April 2016.

Just a few months before her death, John had bought Deirdre a 1956 Volkswagen Beetle. The elevated seats and lightweight doors made it easier for her to get in and out of, boosting her independence. Sadly however, she never got the chance to drive it.

Looking for a way to make a difference after Deirdre’s heartbreaking passing, John entered the 2019 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, along with his brother Chris, to raise funds for the Arthritis Society in her memory. Rally participants must use a car built between 1907 to 1976, so Dierdre’s 1956 Beetle was a meaningful, and perfect, fit.

Says John of his motivation for participating in the grueling rally, “Much of the public does not appreciate how severely this disease affects people and how their lives are changed by it. It makes it difficult to carry on a normal life.

“The Arthritis Society is doing great work in research and supporting people living with the disease.”

John isn’t just raising funds, he’s also leaving it behind. The memory of Deidre’s love for volunteer work moved him to make the Arthritis Society a beneficiary in his Will.

There’s no doubt Deirdre would be happy to know John’s legacy gift to the Arthritis Society is providing hope to so many other families.