Cyclists to pass through Cranbrook on charity ride

A cross-province cycle in aid of cystic fibrosis hopes to raise money and awareness of the fatal disease

Riders take to the highway in the 2012 GearUp4CF Ride. The 2014 ride will pass through Cranbrook on June 27 on its cross-B.C. route.

Riders take to the highway in the 2012 GearUp4CF Ride. The 2014 ride will pass through Cranbrook on June 27 on its cross-B.C. route.

Twenty-four people taking part in a 1,200 kilometre charity bike ride will pass through Cranbrook on June 27.

The GearUp4CF bike ride is a nine-day, 1,200 kilometre cycle from White Rock to Banff to raise money and awareness for cystic fibrosis. The cyclists will climb nine mountain summits over the course of the journey, reaching a final altitude of 8,100 metres.

The riders will arrive in Cranbrook on the afternoon of Friday, June 27, staying at the Sandman. They leave at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 28.

“It would be so amazing if we could get people from the community out cheering on the riders. It would really give them a boost as they continue their challenging ride to Banff,” said Sharron Bates, committee volunteer.

This year’s GearUp4CF ride has some very inspirational riders. One such rider, Bill Markvoort, turns 65 this year and hopes to raise $65,000 in memory of his daughter Eva, who lost her courageous battle with cystic fibrosis in 2010 at the age of 25.


Walter Brennen, father of two girls with cystic fibrosis, lost one daughter to the disease at the age of 12; his second daughter had a double lung transplant in 2012.

Three nine-day riders participating this year have cystic fibrosis: Paul Underhill, George Keulen and Mike Hamilton.

Underhill, a double lung transplant recipient, is the co-creator of the nutritional drink Rumble, which was seen on Dragon’s Den this season.

Hamilton, now 27, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 12.

“Far too many people continue to die at my age or younger from this disease. To change this, we need to keep pushing the pace of research and clinical treatments and for that to happen we need to keep raising funds and awareness for cystic fibrosis,” said Hamilton.

Of the Canadians with cystic fibrosis who died in 2012, half were under age 32.

Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. It is a multi-system disease that affects mainly the lungs and the digestive system.

In the lungs, where the effects are most devastating, a build-up of thick mucus causes severe respiratory problems.

As improved therapies have helped to address the malnutrition issues, ultimately most deaths related to cystic fibrosis are due to lung disease.

Cystic fibrosis is a fatal disease and there is no cure.

Since its inception in 2006, GearUp4CF has raised over $1.25 million and the event continues to grow.