On June 18

A ride to remember

George Keulen will bike 235 kilometres for cystic fibrosis just two years after a double-lung transplant.

This weekend, George Keulen will celebrate his new second birthday with a long bike ride.

On June 16 and 17, the North Delta resident will cycle 235 kilometres from Crescent Beach to Manning Park, located more than 25 kilometres east of Hope.

The following Monday will be the second anniversary of his double-lung transplant.

“Less than two years ago, I was living in St. Paul’s Hospital and not able to walk 10 feet without becoming out of breath, and now I can bike over 100 kilometres in a day and feel pretty good after,” says Keulen, 30.

His participation in Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s GearUp4CF ride is his way of keeping a promise to himself and giving back to those who supported him during his struggle with cystic fibrosis (CF), an incurable and often fatal lung disease.

On June 18, 2010, Keulen was given a donor’s lungs in an eight-hour operation that saved his life after years of deteriorating health.

Keulen, who stopped bike riding when he first got his driver’s licence as a teen, committed himself to the CF ride last fall, and spent much of the winter and spring training on his new bike – just last week, he cycled up to Cypress Bowl.

“I haven’t felt this good since I was 16 or 17.”

Many of the people training with him for the ride, mostly friends and family members of those with CF, don’t even know he had a double-lung transplant, and he admits having some fun in telling them.

There are 51 riders in the 2012 GearUp4CF, split into three groups: A one-day, 100-kilometre ride to Chilliwack, the two-day Weekend Challenger ride that Keulen has chosen, and a nine-day, 1,200-kilometre ride to Banff, Alta., to test the hard-core Marathon Team.

Keulen is the only member of the ride this year who has undergone a lung transplant.

It’s not the first athletic June milestone for Keulen. Last year, a day before the first anniversary of his operation, Keulen did the Grouse Grind – something he promised himself in hospital just five days after his transplant.

Although he’s in better shape than ever, Keulen must take anti-rejection drugs every 12 hours for the rest of his life, and is susceptible to chest infections. He’s had two serious colds in the last year, both requiring hospitalization.

Keulen is dedicating his ride to two people: His cousin Erin Luymes, who died of CF at the age of 19 in 2003, and his lung donor.

The goal for this year’s GearUp4CF ride is $200,000. So far, the ride has raised more than $750,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada since 2006.

For more information or to donate to George Keulen’s ride, visit www.gearup4cf.org/

bjoseph@surreyleader.com

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

Missing North Delta senior found deceased

88-year-old Jarnial Sanghera had been missing since the morning of Friday, May 15

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Dry-grad cancelled, Elgin Park students make donation to food bank

Students donate $1,800 to food bank after being forced to cancel graduation event

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read