Daman Milsom and his girlfriend, Kibby Evans, are on the last leg of a cross-Canada bike trip they have dubbed Trekking4Transplants.
The journey has two purposes: To encourage Canadians to register as organ donors and to raise money for transplant research.
So far the couple has travelled 7,600 kilometres, raised $20,000 and convinced several citizens to sign-up as an organ donors.
“We decided to do this last summer. Kibby’s father at the time was waiting for a liver transplant; that’s kind of what sparked the motivation for this trip,” said Milsom.
“It’s been a great experience.”
In December, Evans’s father received his liver transplant.
But the boyfriend-girlfriend team still stuck to their plans to ride across the country.
Milsom—whose father, Gord, is a councillor for the District of West Kelowna—said the duo’s goal is to raise $50,000 by the time they reach Victoria.
“It was slow going on the east coast of Canada, but we’ve picked up on the donations as we’ve made our way west. Hopefully in B.C. we’ll get a bit more and get closer to the goal.”
The biggest challenge for the couple has been the weather.
“There have been some days when you question why you’re out here…the wind can be strong in your face and it can be pretty wearing at times.
“But those days are few and far between—overall it’s been an incredible experience.”
Another challenge for Milsom and Evans has been adjusting to the learning curve of long-distance cycling.
The duo admitted they were novice cyclists when they began the journey June 1. They rode from Halifax to Calgary without getting any sort of tune-up.
“It was much needed,” Milsom said, referring to the tune-up in Calgary.
“I hadn’t been able to shift my front gears since Ottawa; they needed work before the Rockies.”
According to Milsom, the trip has been enough of a success that he would consider doing another bike trek for a worthy cause in the future; however, it would likely be a ride through a country smaller than Canada.
“Canada is such a huge nation—it takes a lot of time to make your way across, so it’s quite a commitment. I can see myself doing some smaller (countries).”
Milsom and Evans will arrive in West Kelowna late this week and will host an event, which is open to the public, Sunday, Aug. 26 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Beaumont Family Estate Winery.
The couple will share stories from their trip, explain the importance of becoming an organ donor and accept donations for BC Transplant.
Mayor Doug Findlater will also be on hand to officially welcome the cyclists to the district at 1 p.m.
For more information or to follow Evans and Milsom’s progress, visit trekking4transplants.ca.