Manitoba

Cyclist rides through Winnipeg on organ donation journey

An Ontario cyclist made a stop in Winnipeg over the weekend as part of his cross-country trek to raise awareness of the importance of organ donations.
Ontario man is cycling across the country to raise awareness about organ donation. Cayse Ruiter made a stop in Winnipeg on the weekend. 2:12

An Ontario cyclist made a stop in Winnipeg over the weekend as part of his cross-country trek to raise awareness of the importance of organ donations.

Cayse Ruiter, 26, says he hopes Canadians will sign up as organ donors once he shares his own story.

His friend, Matthew Antolin, died in December at the age of 27 while waiting for a heart transplant.

"It was really tough," said Ruiter. "I wish that everyone would have been an organ donor. Because if everyone was a registered organ donor, he would probably still be with us today."

Ruiter started his two-month journey in Tofino, B.C., on June 3 and so far he has biked 2,798 kilometres of the 8,000-kilometre cross-country journey he has dubbed Outlive Yourself.

He said the memory of Antolin keeps him going. 

"Everyday he passes through my head, and that's a big reason why I get up each day with the enthusiasm to go 200-plus kilometres," he said.

Ruiter leaves Winnipeg on Monday morning. His next stop will be Kenora, Ont.