April 16, 2014 5:15 pm
Updated: April 16, 2014 7:03 pm

Burlington man, 81, takes on 600km bike ride to raise awareness for COPD


TORONTO – Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy, but as 81-year-old Hugh Cleland proves anything is possible.

Taking on the trails that run beside Lake Ontario, Cleland and his brother-in-law Russell Herder are riding 600 km to raise awareness for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), an illness that Hugh’s wife and Russell’s sister, June, passed away from last year.   June’s Fund was created in her memory.

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“We’re looking at between 80 to 100 kilometers a day. The big variable is the weather,” Cleland said.  “[June] was a great wife, great mother, great family, you know, I hit it out of the park with her.”

Also supporting Cleland in his bike ride is CEO of West Park Hospital Foundation Mike LeClair, whose hospital is home to many patients currently living with COPD.  All funds raised will be donated to the hospital.

“June’s Fund is vital for West Park,” LeClair said.  “West Park is treating respiratory disease of which is COPD is one.  As an avid cyclist, as somebody who’s had a parent pass away from COPD, Hugh is just an amazing guy to be able to do this.”

Cleland’s training for the big day begins Saturday.

“I live in a 20-storey building and I walk up and down twice,” Cleland said.  “My doctor’s threatening me that I’m going to live to be a hundred.  What am I going to do for the next 19 years?”

In addition to that, Cleland also cycles three times a week.

“I figure my goal is to keep up with an 81-year-old,” Brother-in-law Herder laughed.  “So my training is a little bit less than him.  I just hope he doesn’t make a fool out of me!”

Visit their Facebook page for more information or click on the donation link.

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