The “Forever Lungs” cycle relay made a brief stop in Revelstoke Thursday before continuing on towards completing the 2,300-kilometre ride for a cause.
The trip, which cyclists Julie Ann Chiodo and Olivia Mendicino are carrying out in support of the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, will see the riders split the distance from Vancouver to Toronto.
Through fundraising, Chiodo and Mendicino hope to help facilitate further developments relating to treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is estimated to affect over 17,000 Canadians yearly according to the CPFF.
IPF is a progressive and chronic lung disease which, over time, scars lung tissue and changes the lung’s ability to function normally. Exact cause of the disease is unknown, and while treatments are available to slow down the effect of IPF, there is no known cure.
“The disease sort of just goes from needing oxygen to a lung transplant, so there’s not a lot in between,” says Mendicino. “We’re hoping that what we’re doing here can raise money for research to maybe find a better cure or treatment.”
Mendicino’s father passed away from IPF in 2014 and Chiodo’s uncle recently recieved a lung transplant to treat his illness, linking both of the riders directly to their cause.
The pair says within four days of fundraising, they surpassed their initial goal of $10,000 towards research projects through the CPFF, and have since set a new goal of $20,000.
Since beginning their ride on Sunday in Vancouver, both of the riders say they’ve been motivated to continue onwards knowing their contribution could create real change for IPF.
“Thinking about your dad, what he would think knowing that we’re doing this,” says Chiodo. “He might think we’re a little bit nuts, but I think he’d be happy.”
To learn more about Medicino and Chiodo’s Forever Lungs ride and support the cause, visit http://www.foreverlungs.com/.