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For Immediate Release

“Brian’s Ride” Takes Children’s Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Patient on 2,000-Mile Bicycle Ride to Florida and Back

Brian McCandless to depart from Children’s and return 26 days later to raise awareness/support

A 19-year-old cystic fibrosis patient and avid cyclist is departing Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC this morning to embark on a 2,000-mile bike ride to increase awareness of the disease and raise money for research.

Brian McCandless, 19, a freshman at Slippery Rock University, plans to bike to Tallahassee, Fla., and back to Pittsburgh in 26 days, returning June 10, 2007 – his 20th birthday. He has dubbed his trip “Brian’s Ride.”

Among the supporters who are seeing Brian off as he begins his trip today are David M. Orenstein, MD, director of the Antonio J. and Janet Palumbo Cystic Fibrosis Center  at Children’s. Several organizations, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Pittsburgh International Telecommunications, are supporting “Brian’s Ride.”

Brian, an athlete and physical education major at Slippery Rock, has been determined not to let cystic fibrosis (CF) limit him. He ran cross country and was a high jumper at Butler High School. He decided to go on “Brian’s Ride” after a doctor asked him to speak with a family who had just learned their child had been diagnosed with CF.

“I understood that my doctor wanted the distraught parents to see that I have not allowed CF to control my life. Shortly after this experience, I came up with ‘Brian’s Ride’ because I realized that I need to become an example to more people diagnosed with CF,” Brian said. “This disease does not have to beat us, and my goal is to give hope to children who are diagnosed with this disease.”

CF is a life-threatening and incurable genetic disease that affects more than 30,000 children and adults in the United States. The median survival age of a person with CF is 36 years. More than 400 patients suffering from the life-shortening disease are cared for at Children’s CF Center.

Dr. Orenstein, a pulmonologist at Children’s and professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is a national authority on the benefits of exercise in people with CF. Beginning in the late 1970s, Dr. Orenstein pioneered the study of exercise in children with CF and has dedicated his career to developing it as a therapy.

“Brian is the ultimate example of what a person with CF can accomplish and a testament to the benefits of exercise for these patients,” Dr. Orenstein said. “Over a relatively short time, the average life expectancy of a patient with CF has risen from the teens to 36 years old, and we’re confident that exercise plays a significant role in the health and perhaps the longevity of patients with CF.”

Learn more about “Brian’s Ride,” including his itinerary and list of sponsors.
Learn more about David M. Orenstein, MD.
Learn more about the Antonio J. and Janet Palumbo Cystic Fibrosis Center at Children’s.

Contact:

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016, Marc.Lukasiak@chp.edu
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016, Melanie.Finnigan@chp.edu

Last Update
February 14, 2008
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Last Update
February 14, 2008
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