Rider not letting rare disease keep him out of saddle

2019-10-02 06:00
Bruce Campbell, from Summerstand, came sixth overall at the Dr Evil Classic mountain bike stage race.       Photo:MARYANN SHAW

Bruce Campbell, from Summerstand, came sixth overall at the Dr Evil Classic mountain bike stage race. Photo:MARYANN SHAW

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ACCOMPLISHED Summerstrand athlete, Bruce Campbell, has done it again – this time at the Dr Evil Classic mountain bike stage race that took place from September 19-21 in Plettenberg Bay – coming fourth in the solo men’s category and sixth overall despite suffering from a rare glycogen storage disease.

Asked about the Dr Evil Classic, Campbell commented on the three very different areas riders experienced each day.

“On day one, starting in the Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve, almost getting stampeded by wildebeest and seeing elephant along the route, was amazing. Day two there was lots of climbing and then we ended off in the most magical forest. Then on day three, along the coast, I don’t think you can get a more picturesque ride really,” he added.

Bruce is focused on raising awareness about Rare Diseases South Africa, an organisation helping individuals to manage rare diseases and in some cases to assist with a diagnosis.

“I have a rare disease called Pompe disease. Glycogen fuels your whole body and my body does not break down glycogen so I have to go to the hospital for enzyme replacement therapy every two weeks, and that then allows me to be able to compete in events such as these,” said Campbell.

“I can’t run anymore and I can’t do anything at high intensity, so I don’t push myself to be at the front of the race. I keep it consistent and within a certain heart rate zone.

“There are so many people out there suffering from rare diseases and it took me 10 years of fighting and trying to get diagnosed. If I can help just one person get diagnosed earlier and not have to suffer, it’s all the motivation I need to keep competing in these events.”

Despite these challenges, Bruce regularly achieves on the mountain bike, placing fifth in the recent Cape Pioneer Trek mountain bike stage race.

He is a Cape Epic finisher and he has previously won the Fish River Sun MTB event and the 3 Beaches Challenge.

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