The Forest to the Sea

Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Fundraiser

Thank You Notes from the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

As indicated in a previous post, I promised to post any thank you notes from the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. I have now received e-mails from both of my contacts at the foundation and would like to share some words from them here:

  • “We thank you for your wonderful support.  We will be using your generous contributions for the IPF Summit.  It is proving to be a great occasion with over 40 faculty members and a near full Patient Session….  Thanks so much for your support and congratulations again.”
  • “On behalf of everyone at the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation I would like to congratulate you on your success and thank you for your extraordinary effort. You and your team should be extremely proud. Cycling across Europe is a noteworthy accomplishment on its own.  By adding the components of fundraising and raising awareness of pulmonary fibrosis you have created a unique and impressive memorial to your mother, Janice Saalfeld.”

It seems that people keep on giving. We have now raised $4,130 for the fundraiser!

There may yet be more to come related to the fundraiser. I will be sure to keep everyone up to date.

Ezra Anton


Thank You for Making the Black to Black Fundraiser a Great Success!

The feat of cycling from the Black Forest to the Black Sea is just one of the many triumphs that we experienced on our journey. We never ceased to remember that we rode in memoriam and honor of Janice Saalfeld, my mom, and that we sought to fundraise $3,000 for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation to contribute to easing the life of others living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Our outstanding and amazing families, friends and even some people we have never met made achieving our stated goal of $3,000 an absolute breeze– the kind that pushed us 180 km through Romania in less than 9 hours including breaks. We had already passed the 50% mark when I flew out of Toronto on July 21, four days before day one of Black to Black. I remember being pleasantly shocked when Tom and Woody informed me we’d surpassed $2000 as we put shoe to pedal for the first time. By the time I was first able to check our Crowdrise page, our total had broken $2,600. That was in Ulm, Germany on day three. I’d often check the webpage on my telephone if I had a wi-fi connection and read names and amounts as fast I could to Tom and Woody as the ticker of donors quickly scrolled across the tiny screen. Whichever one of us knew the donor would cheerfully yell out the relation and have a sweet sensation of knowing so-and-so had donated.

That day in Ulm was the day before our first 160 km ride, upping our previous daily klick high by 70 km. After our nightly beer gardens exploration, I read the comments people had left with their donations and we all laughed and felt inspired to push through any pain or fear that might make Black to Black impossible. Woody’s dad left a particularly funny omen: “Good luck! I think you’ll need it.” At about kilometer 70 of the next day’s ride, Tarantino’s back wheel was discombobulated… 50 meters from that glorious cycling shop. Good luck if we ever had it!

As the donations kept coming in, Woody wanted me to make sure everyone knew we weren’t riding back up the Danube if we hit $6,000. I believe it was Jackie’s donation that pushed us over $3,000. That felt fitting to me because Jackie is one of my mom’s very best friends and was with Mom every step of the way (even from far away) as she learned about her sickness and fought it for over two years.

As our funds rose higher and higher over our goal, I believe we all felt obliged to finish Black to Black because we were riding for something much more significant than just fun (though we never ceased to have fun– except maybe on that stretch of motorway in Ruse, Bulgaria when my spoke snapped).

At the time of writing, the total donation amount on Crowdrise sits at $3,855, or 129% of our original goal. The actual total is even higher because some people donated offline and their donation amounts are unknown.  We have now learned of offline donation amounts and have surpassed $4,000. We now sit at $4,025, or 134% of our original goal. Some people may still feel inclined to contribute. If so, learn the ups and downs of the process here.

I will be contacting the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation soon to let them know that our fundraiser is over and will be sure to post any thank you we get from them here. I have no doubt the foundation, their employees and all the scientists, researchers and doctors who benefit from your donations will be grateful for your charity.

Thank you so very much to each and every person who supported us through the fundraiser. You all deserve handshakes, hugs and nods from us! I spent my last night in Europe watching a free performance by the Opera Nationala Bucaresti in a park in front of the National Opera House. I became sentimental realizing I would never get to share this amazing experience I have had over the last month with my mom. Then I grew happy knowing how many people have supported her memory. Fireworks exploded high in the sky over the opera at the end of the night. You are all like those fireworks in my opinion, garnering oohs and ahhs with shouts of joy from the crowd below made up of Tom, Woody and me along with anyone affected by pulmonary fibrosis.

Most sincerely,
Ezra Anton Greene with Tom Youngs and Jonathan ‘Woody’ Woodsmith

Black to Black Fundraising Goal Met!

Thanks to all our friends and families who have donated to the Black to Black fundraiser! We have passed the goal we set for ourselves and feel very grateful to everyone who has helped us. We’re in Budapest and will pass the midway point of the Danube and our cycling trip today! Here’s a couple photos from my phone.

Ezra Anton


Esztergom, Hungary


Budapest, Hungary


Budapest, Hungary

It’s All Down Hill from Here!

Well not for us three riders. We got all sorts of terrain to navigate yet. The Black to Black Fundraiser on the other hand has been a strong success so far! We’re just two weeks from spinning out of Donaueschingen and have already raised $1,636 of our $3,000 pledge. That puts us at 55%, meaning we have to ride to at least Novi Sad, Serbia if we ride a klick per buck.

Thank you very much to all those who have contributed so far. We have had contributions come in from far reaching corners of the world. Tom has been busy collecting funds from his students, fellow teachers and football mates in Austria and raised a very healthy sum of donations. 50/50 draw and volleyball tournament winnings have been contributed to the cause from Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic. Plus, there have been individual contributions coming in from people all over the world at a steady pace. As always, every little bit is appreciated and everyone living with pulmonary fibrosis will hopefully have a chance to get better with your help!

Let’s keep the drive going and cruise on towards $3,000, and, if we reach our target quickly, we can keep on cruising to see how much money we can raise for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. If you want to know more about our fundraiser, head on over to this page to read about the cause, why you should contribute and how to contribute. If you’re ready to contribute, please do so at our Crowdrise fundraising page.

3000 for 3000: A Dollar per K!

As mentioned in our first post, we are not only out to have a good time cycling across Central and Eastern Europe. We have also committed to fundraising for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation during our trip in hopes of raising $3000 US. We figure we will cycle close to 3000 km along the Danube and want to raise one dollar for every kilometre. We know that’s more than the price of gasoline! But it’s for a better cause than global warming, right? All donations will be used towards funding international research projects and conferences dedicated to finding a cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and easing the lives of individuals and families affected by the lung disease. We strongly encourage anyone and everyone to contribute to this cause. We greatly appreciate anything that anyone is able to offer!

Our interest in fundraising for this particular cause stems from Ezra Anton being personally affected by the horrible disease. Both Ezra’s grandfather Bob Saalfeld and mother Jan Saalfeld passed away from interstitial pulmonary fibrosis. He lost his mother just over a year ago on April 20, 2010, and we dedicate this fundraiser to her honour and memory.

You’re probably wondering how to donate already. Alright, alright! Simply go to our Black to Black Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Fundraiser Crowdrise project page and click on the orange “Donate” button on the right side of the screen. A window will pop up that allows you to make donations online with a credit card. You simply need to fill in the information and click donate. At the time of writing this post, we have only setup online donations, but we will soon be providing other options if you want to donate by other methods.

In addition to fundraising, Ezra wants to do all he can to raise awareness about pulmonary fibrosis during the trip. He plans to use this blog as a portal to educate people about the disease, how it has affected him personally, how to live a lifestyle that supports healthy lungs and how to support causes that will lead to cleaner air for us all. His hope is that everyone can be out on a bicycle with their lungs happily pumping and enjoying fresh air that circulates through every bit of their bodies!


Ezra Anton