Dave Nitsche: Riding for Wellspring

March 11, 2024

When it comes to surviving cancer and showing up for others, Dave Nitsche doesn’t just walk the talk – he pedals the hell out of it.

“I guess I’ve always been ‘that guy’ – the guy who pushes the limits and doesn’t quit things. I want people to know that cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence; you’ve got to keep getting up and living your life,” said Dave.

The Long and Winding Road

Five years after the sudden loss of an eye, followed by the shocking news that he had stage 4 lung cancer, 55-year-old Dave is back in the zone … pushing limits and defying odds. Specifically, he’s training for the BC Epic 1000, a strenuous 10-to-12-day cycling trip stretching from Merritt to Fernie on rugged terrain.

What is truly remarkable about this ‘epic’ challenge, is that Dave has declared this a ride for hope … turning the 1,040 km bikepacking trip into a cancer awareness feat, and a fundraiser for Wellspring Alberta. Dave says he is already training, and he’s excited to pursue this adventure with a goal of helping others benefit from the cancer support he has found at Wellspring.

“I said this when I first shared my cancer story with Wellspring two years ago … If you have cancer, go directly to Wellspring. The programs there are absolutely invaluable. There’s so much information and support – it will make your life better,” said Dave.

Dave also continues to assert that if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer, and he actively aims to correct the misguided views of lung cancer and expose its underfunded plight. Along with packing his supplies and camping gear for the epic ride, Dave plans to display an oversized Lung Cancer ribbon, which will have a DONATE QR code so any spectators he encounters can point and click to donate to Wellspring Alberta.

“Twenty years ago, I would have viewed this as a race, but now I see it as an opportunity to challenge myself, have fun and make a meaningful difference,” says Dave, who went from avid ultra marathoner to vocal cancer activist in a span of a decade.

In Dave’s view, as long as he can stay on track and navigate the highs and lows of cancer, he has lots to give and even more to live for.

Support Dave’s Wellspring fundraiser!

Keep on Rolling

If you ask Dave how he summons the motivation to train several hours a day and overlook cancer setbacks, including recent focal seizures that caused temporary numbing on one side of his face, Dave shares a metaphor that someone shared with him in one of the men’s cancer groups he belongs to.

“It’s about viewing life as a train track. On one side, you know, death is on the horizon, and of course you visit that side sometimes for perspective and to put things in order for whenever that might happen. But on the other side of the track is your life that’s still going on – and that’s where you spend most of your time … living and dreaming and moving forward,” he said.

Are you interested in raising funds for Wellspring Alberta?

We’ve made a simple template so you can seamlessly create any type of fundraiser that suits you! Visit Fundraise Your Way and help Wellspring ensure that no one has to face cancer alone.

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