Coast-to-Coast Bike Ride, Inspired by Boy with CF, Raising Money for Claire’s Place Foundation

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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A first-grader with cystic fibrosis (CF), Conor Fink, inspired a close family friend to hop on his bicycle and spend his summer pedaling from the West to East Coast — Oregon to New York — to  raise money for Claire’s Place Foundation, a nonprofit helping children and families affected by the disease.

Douglas Forsyth’s 3400-mile bike journey, which started on July 9 in Portland, has its own Go Fund Me Page and its own Facebook page, which includes a complete trip route and displays daily updates from spots where Forsyth takes a stop.

According to the latest update, posted today, Forsyth and a friend accompanying him on the trek — Doug Sawyer — are hoping to arrive in Idaho on Friday. Their goal is to make it to Battery Park, at the southern edge of New York City, on or about Aug. 5.

Forsyth was inspired to take on this fund-raising challenge by the young Fink, whose father Forsyth calls his best friend. CF, a genetic disorder, requires countless medications on a daily basis and forces patients to endure numerous treatments. He wanted to help Conor and his family.

He chose Claire’s Place Foundation to receive money raised because the nonprofit provides financial and other support directly to people living with CF, like grants given to help with medicines and hospital bills. The foundation was started by Claire Wineland, now 19, who has been living with CF since birth, with the goal of aiding CF families and educating the public.

“Our most recent grant was made possible in part by the fundraising Douglas Forsyth is doing,” Melissa Yeager, Claire’s Place Foundation’s executive director, said in a press release. “The grant was given to an 11 year old boy living with cystic fibrosis who has been hospitalized four times in quick succession and the family was facing extreme financial difficulties as well as a move to a new city.

“Without friends and supporters like Douglas we would not be able to take the huge financial burden off the shoulders of families affected by cystic fibrosis. Thank you Douglas and everyone who is helping with ‘Cycling America for CF’. Your efforts are making a real difference in this family’s life and more!” Yeager added.

Forsyth and Sawyer plan to ride without support throughout the trip,  pulling a bike trailer with necessary gear to sleep outdoors most nights. Forsyth hopes to bike an average of 125 miles per day, completing the 3,400 total in about 27 days.

In the four months since the fund-raiser began, 41 people have helped Forsyth reach $4,705 of his $5,000 goal. Anyone wish to make a donation can do so through his page.

Claire is a author of a bestselling book, “Every Breath I Take, Surviving and Thriving with Cystic Fibrosis,” and a frequent speaker and advocate on behalf of people with cystic fibrosis.