The Great COFE for Cystic Fibrosis
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We used this website : www.cofe4cf.blogspot.com to keep a diary of the ride. It is a blog, an online diary, and the last articles appear on top.The original planned itinery (very similar to what we ended up doing) can be found <here>.
In a nutshell, the bicycle ride from Paris to Istanbul followed the route of the Orient Express railway. The journey took 72 days and the high definition video footage we took is now made into a TV documentary. The ride/documentary is done to provide inspiration to people with Cystic Fibrosis and their friends and family. Profits from the documentary will go to CF Research funds.
The documentary, to be called COUGHING THE DISTANCE will be an all POSITIVE documentary about living with Cystic Fibrosis as an adult. As the expected age of a person with CF is in the 30s parents and children have gloomy prospects. This documentary will show me, at 42 years of age cycling across 11 countries in 72 days, 4395 kms and 1500+ pills.
We starterd the ride at the Eiffel Tower on 28 July 2007 and arrived with a huge reception at the Dutch Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday 6 October.
People with Cystic Fibrosis suffer from irreversible lung damage due to continuous infection, which make them cough a lot. Every morning and evening, and often in between, people with Cystic Fibrosis need to have nebuliser treatments to help cough up the gunk in their lungs. When coughing is suppressed because of embarrassment or to stop other people from worrying, then the lung infections get worse. It is very important that people with CF just cough and carry on with life. Especially exercise! My life has been full of regular pulmonary exercises: running, cycling, walking (uphills), kayaking, and other sports that I can do out of doors where no one hears me cough! By having ridden 4395 kilometers on my bicycle I am encouraging other people with CF and their friends and family to get out and cough, get out and do exercise, and to not be embarrassed about their cough!
The aim of the ride is to bring encouragement to people who care for, or in any other way are associated with people with Cystic Fibrosis. The message is to tell the World that living with Cystic Fibrosis does not have to stop you from doing great things! As long as they cough, and take their prescribed medications, they can still live their dreams and do great things! I also want to bring the message to people that good nutrition, a positive mind and plenty of exercise is just as important as their daily medical regimes.
We have a good team ready to come out and help me. This includes Troy from Nook (Tasmania), he is a Sheffield SES volunteer, and qualified and practicing mechanic. Troy came along as the support vehicle driver and bike mechanic. His work-place, Wiggies Radiators has given him $1000 towards the trip! He sold his 4-wheeler, motorbike and caravan to fund his way. Another person is David Barz from Canberra (an ex-paramedic and current AFP officer) took long service leave to come along, and Heather Lea, a Canadian free-lance sports-writer is cycling with us as well! Cindy Brazendale, aka Thrust from the Devonport Hash House Harriers (or some people know her as Cindy, the hairdresser from Forth) came along to help out from Viena to Istanbul, the last 3000kmns! She gave endless massages and ensured we were (hair) dressed to impress when facing media..
The team was primarilly self funded. This means that each of them has taken time off work for about 10 weeks, and paid for most of their expenses. We raised about $15000 from the Tasmanian Community and approximately another $15000 from corporate donations in the form of clothing (Patagonia), car (Martin Quelle's Qwertie company), bikes (from Batavus in Holland) and financial help to make sure we could stay in hotels along the way (The Mad Bomber Company). We also received great help from Rotary members in France, Lions Clubs, bicycle shops and the list goes on!This is a huge ask!
I should mention that the team had no ties with Cystic Fibrosis. They came along because they want to do something to make a difference in this world and choose to help promote Cystic Fibrosis awareness. Their support was fantastic. I could not have done this trip without them. The finding greatly helped in reducing their out of pocket expenses, but the average team member still invested about $5-$10K each to make the journey!
WHAT IS THE COFE?
Press articles/releases and letters of support which provide lots of information are <here>.
The Great COFE as we have called it, stands for Cystic Orient Fibrosis Express.
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