Every year, Ashcroft resident Wayne Chorneychuk’s summer culminates with a two-day, 200 kilometre ride from Fort Langley to Cultus Lake and back in support of the one in five British Columbians who suffer from lung disease. It’s an event he trains for all summer long, and it’s called the BC Lung Association’s Annual Bicycle Trek for Life and Breath (Trek).
In fact, it’s how Wayne’s entire family ends their summer. While his wife Carolyn chooses not to ride, she participates every year as a volunteer, and now their young children Liam and Natalya volunteer too.
This will be Wayne’s 25th year taking part, and over the years he and Carolyn—together with their Ashcroft Trek teammates and supporters—have raised a whopping $115,000 in support of the cause.
“My wife began volunteering for Trek the first year I cycled,” says Wayne. “She has been a volunteer director for the BC Lung Association since 2001, and I am so proud to say she has just been elected to the Executive Committee.
“Our kids love being involved in Trek. It’s truly a great weekend, and at the same time a chance to make a difference in the lives of others. We look forward to catching up with all our Trek friends every September—and as long as these legs and lungs are fit to peddle, I’ll be there!”
Initiated by a small group of cyclists and committed lung health advocates long before charity bike ride fundraisers became widespread, the weekend event attracts a loyal following of some two to three hundred “Trekkers” year in and year out. In order to participate, each Trekker is required to pay a $25 registration fee and commit to fundraising a minimum of $650 in donations.
“So many more people struggle with respiratory conditions,” says Marissa McFadyen. Manager, Events and Engagement for the BC Lung Association. “Lung cancer is one, but there are so many more lung conditions which need increased attention, research, and patient program funding.”
According to the Lung Association, one in five British Columbians are affected by a lung or breathing condition. The most common in B.C. is asthma, affecting as many as 10 per cent of children and adults.
Next is COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)—the fourth leading cause of death—which affects another six per cent of people aged 45 or older. Following COPD is sleep apnea, or sleep-disordered breathing, affecting another two to four per cent of adult men and women.
Add to that the tens of thousands of British Columbians diagnosed every year with lung cancer, afflicted by a fatal condition of the lungs called pulmonary fibrosis, or born with a life-shortening genetic condition called cystic fibrosis. While treatment exists to control and slow down the progression of these conditions, none are currently curable.
Finally, consider the tens of thousands impacted every year by airborne infectious diseases such as influenza and pneumonia or worse: the increasingly antibiotic-resistant bacterial killer tuberculosis (TB).
“It is thanks to advances in lung and infectious disease research, immunization efforts, and accessible health care that such diseases remain well-controlled in Canada—at least for the time being,” says McFadyen. “And our fundraisers and donors are helping ensure it stays that way.”
Last September organizers welcomed Trekkers ranging in age from 18 to 77 years old. To learn more and register, visit www.bicycletrek.ca. To make a donation in support of Wayne Chorneychuk, visit the link, click donate, and search the name.
If you have questions or would like more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Events Team at the BC Lung Association toll-free at 1-800-665-5864.
All proceeds from the event continue to fund vital research, education, and advocacy programs in support of those affected by lung disease.