British Columbia

Terry Fox route retraced by cyclist Michael van Beek

A Dutch cyclist has arrived in Vancouver after a grueling Terry Fox-inspired cross-Canada journey to raise awareness for his own illness.

Dutch cyclist biked 4,000 kilometers to raise awareness of rare auto-immune disease

Michael van Beek cycled 4,000 kilometers across Canada to raise awareness for sarcoidosis, a rare auto-immune condition. (CBC)

A Dutch cyclist has arrived in Vancouver after a grueling Terry Fox-inspired cross-Canada journey to raise awareness for his own illness. 

Michael van Beek was inspired by Fox when he visited Canada as a 13 year-old and saw him on TV. 

Now, 35 years later, van Beek has followed Terry Fox's footprints on his bicycle after being diagnosed with sarcoidosis, a rare auto-immune disease that leads to inflammation in the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin.

"Two years ago I thought I was dying," said van Beek.

Van Beek decided to embark upon a cross-Canada mission to cycle 8,000 kilometres across Canada, starting in St. John's in April.

"The most scary part was having an idea and following your dream," said van Beek.

Due to his illness, van Beek had to cut his journey in half, which means he travelled about 4,000 kilometres. Still, he's happy with how it went.

"I realized I'm the one who's lucky that can do something so I can spread the news and inspire people," said van Beek.

With files from Jeff Harrington

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