Krista Houston (right) will cycle from Vancouver to Banff in honor of her friend Kim Wood who struggles with cystic fibrosis.

Krista’s gearing up for cystic fibrosis ride

30-year-old helicopter pilot is determined to complete Vancouver to Banff bike ride

Riding a bike all the way from Vancouver to Banff – 1200 kilometres in nine days in the GearUp 4 CF (cystic fibrosis) is ambitious.

You might wonder why anyone would undertake this challenge. Krista Houston, 30-year-old helicopter pilot for Grizzly Helicopters is determined to complete this ride. She is doing it to help her friend Kim Wood (Black) who has cystic fibrosis.

“I watch Kim struggle everyday to breathe, to survive and I know the incredible courage and strength she has – I want to make a difference in her life and for all those children and young adults who have CF. I know I will have to dig deep to find the strength and stamina to complete the ride. It is only for nine days – Kim finds the strength to fight CF everyday!”

Houston will be joining 21 other riders also participating in this great Cystic Fibrosis Canada fundraising event which begins June 22.

Houston says, “I am counting on the support of friends, family and even strangers to help me raise as much money as possible so we can find a cure or better treatments for CF. I want nothing more than for my friend, Kim to have the same quality of life that you and I enjoy. By raising funds for the GearUp I can help make this happen. By making a donation to my ride you can help too.”

Cystic Fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. There is no cure for CF. It causes a build up of thick mucus in the lungs leading to severe respiratory problems which can make breathing difficult. Meanwhile, mucus and protein build-up in the digestive tract results in extreme difficulty digesting and absorbing adequate nutrients from food. The effects of cystic fibrosis are most devastating in the lungs. Ultimately most CF deaths are due to lung disease.

Wood and others who have CF must endure hours of physiotherapy and inhaled medications daily to help clear the secretions from their lungs and keep a lid on chronic lung infections. Wood also has CF related diabetes and uses an insulin pump and strict dietary controls. She takes about 60 pills a day to help her body absorb the nutrition required to fight her illness.  Recently Wood’s CF has become more than an inconvenience. More and more it is controlling everything she does during the day – she has to plan all her activities carefully around her medication, physio, and rest requirements.

“It would mean the world to me to see a cure or control for this disease.  The only way that will happen is for me to help raise the funds scientists and doctors need to make it happen.  Improvements in care have meant people with CF sometimes now live into their 30’s and 40’s. This is not enough for me – I want my friend Kim to have an opportunity to get back to her job as a nurse, to have a family and be able to travel and enjoy life like the rest of us,” said Houston.

Wood says “I’m in awe of what Krista is doing for me – she is my support, my cheerleader, my laughter and my escape. She understands the daily struggles I have and does anything and everything she can to help me get through them. There aren’t many friends like her out there in the world.  I feel incredibly lucky to have such a thoughtful and caring friend.”

Joining Houston for the first few days will be her husband Daryl Barnes.  Also on the ride will be Michael Hamilton, 25, who has cystic fibrosis. Hamilton grew up in Campbell River and along with his father Neal, volunteers for Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s Campbell River Chapter.

Houston is working hard to raise funds for her ride.  She will be having a giant garage sale, May 11. She welcomes donated items for the garage sale – call 250-923-7980. To help sponsor Houston or Hamilton, donations to Cystic Fibrosis Canada can be dropped off at Outdoor Addictions or online at www.cfvancouver.ca and follow the links for Gearup4CF 2013. Your support will help make a difference to those living with cystic fibrosis.