Dale’s story: Cross-Canada bike ride raises awareness for kidney disease, organ donation

National Post | David Kates

Dale CalibabaKidney patient Dale Calibaba is half-way into a cross-Canada bike tour. Along for the ride are his daughter, his coach, and the portable dialysis machine that keeps him alive.

Dale Calibaba sounds energized over the phone. He’s in Toronto, shuttling between shopping and speaking engagements, roughly a third of the way into a cross-country bicycle journey that began on June 1st in St. John’s, Newfoundland. If all goes according to schedule, he will pedal his way to the finish line, on September 4th in Victoria, B.C.

“It’s been excellent,” he says. “We’ve gotten some great feedback and great successes, and a had lot of impact, which my coach and I were wanting to see.”

It’s rare to hear about someone undertaking a cross-Canada cycling tour. But “rare” is perhaps a fitting description for Calibaba: the 46-year-old native of Kamloops, B.C. was born with Alport Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects just one in 50,000 people. Many who have it will eventually suffer kidney failure, as well as visual and hearing impairments.

“When I was diagnosed as an infant with this disease, we were told that I would eventually have kidney failure in my teen years,” Calibaba recalls. “Which proved to be correct: my kidneys began to fail at around age 17.” Continue reading