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Bicyclists Breathing Life Into Lung Disease Awareness

May 09, 1998|LISA ADDISON

Orange County bicyclists dedicated to fighting lung disease will join about 1,000 others in a benefit ride across the country.

Proceeds from the GTE Big Ride Across America, departing from Seattle on June 15 and arriving in Washington on Aug. 1, will go to the American Lung Assn.

For some riders, the new event is seen as a personal quest to raise awareness about the third-leading cause of death.

"When I read about the ride, my first thought was that this was a great way to fulfill a 10-year dream I've had to ride across this great country," said Ronald Schurter, 58, of Yorba Linda.

"But then my focus changed to all of the people suffering from dreadful lung diseases, and I began to reflect on how lung disease has affected my family and friends."

Schurter's sons Brett and Bryan are asthmatics and have been hospitalized for treatment. His sister-in-law died of asthma at 40. And six years ago, he lost his 52-year-old brother to lung cancer.

Schurter and a handful of other riders from Orange County have made physical, mental and financial commitments to participate. Each rider is raising $6,000 as a minimum pledge level.

Riders will pass through 13 states and spend 48 days on the road. Information: (800) BIG-RIDE.

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