Cyclist with cystic fibrosis traveling across nation
From the July 7, 2015 edition of The Pueblo Chieftain
By Anthony Settipani
Pueblo marks the halfway point on Brian McCandless’ transcontinental journey against cystic fibrosis, an illness that has afflicted him since a young age.
Starting in San Francisco, he and his team are cycling across the United States, a distance of approximately 3,400 miles. They arrived in Pueblo West on Monday afternoon and will stay in town for the next two days before proceeding on to Annapolis, Md., the team’s final destination.
“I think that it’s incredible,” said Corinne Brown, who’s hosting the team for their stay in Pueblo. Brown, an avid cycler herself and member of the local club Cruisin’ Pueblo, said she was happy to help McCandless and his teammates on their journey.
“The unique thing about being on a bicycle is that you’re in the elements, and it’s just such a personal statement to put yourself out there like that for so long,” she continued. “And the fact that he’s afflicted with a debilitating disease and is doing it anyway, I find that very impressive.”
McCandless was first diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a respiratory disorder that leads to blocked airways and difficulty breathing, when he was 2 months old.
“A lot of people told me that I wouldn’t be able to exercise, and I might die at 18,” he said.
Since then, McCandless has also completed marathons, obstacle courses and the Couer d’Alene Ironman, and believes that exercise is one of the things that has helped him the most as he lives with his illness.
“I think having something to focus on helps me a lot,” he said. “Without that goal, it’s a lot easier to slip into bad habits.”
He hopes to inspire those with similar conditions to take their lives back into their own hands, and the team is also taking donations both in person and online.
Proceeds for Brian’s Ride will go to The Boomer Esiason Foundation, which funds research for a cure to cystic fibrosis.