Johanna Swenson knows how devastating lung disease can be, both for those who live with lung disease and for those who support loved ones with breathing problems.
It’s why Swenson participates every year in the B.C. Lung Association’s annual Bicycle Trek for Life and Breath – a 200-kilometre, two-day cycling fundraiser from White Rock to Cultus Lake and back.
“First and foremost, I ride for my dad. He passed away in 2015 from a lung-related disease. And I ride for my sweet friend, Linda, who has battled asthma her entire life. I ride for all who struggle to breathe.”
This year will be Swenson’s fifth time doing the Bike Trek. She’ll be riding with more than 150 other riders.
Taking part in trek is one way Swenson feels she can do something about lung disease, though she knows that the length of the ride might seem daunting to those who are considering joining the ride.
Her advice for people wondering whether trek would be right for them: “Just do it! Train slowly, take your time and enjoy the experience, and during the ride, don’t forget to look up from the road and enjoy the beauty of the route. You will be so proud of your accomplishments when you cross the finish line.”
It’s participants like Swenson who make the trek the success it is, says B.C. Lung Association organizer Marissa McFadyen.
“Everyone has their own reason to be there, and together with their donors, we’re able to raise money and make a real difference in the lives of British Columbians with breathing problems.”
Hundreds of cyclists take part in the Bike Trek from White Rock to Cultus Lake, and back again, raising money to help fight lung disease. Currently in its 34th year, Trek has raised more than $6 million for British Columbians with breathing problems.
For more information on the trek or to register, please call the B.C. Lung Association toll-free at 1-800-665-5864 or online at www.bicycletrek.ca.
• One in five British Columbians currently suffers from lung disease.
• The rate of asthma in children is four times higher than it was 20 years ago, and 300,000 British Columbians suffer from asthma. Asthma is the leading cause of child emergency room visits.
• COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – is the leading cause of adult hospitalization and the fourth leading cause of death in Canada.
• One Canadian dies every 20 minutes from lung disease.