A man known as the Biking Viking is back in Spokane on a quest to raise money for a nonprofit in honor of a Coeur d’Alene boy.
Anders Forselius, 44, of Ljusdal, Sweden, is combining his passion for bicycling, travel, and running marathons with his desire to help. The Swedish freelance writer started the “50 State Marathon Tour,” and has been riding his bicycle from state to state and running marathons across the country.
Along the journey, he is raising money for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, which financially assists children and young adults who undergo organ transplantation.
Forselius carries with him the ashes of Alex Blackburn, a Coeur d’Alene boy who had a heart transplant at 4 months old and died in 2001 at age 12. Blackburn’s final wish was to have his ashes spread all over the world, in the places he would never get to visit in life. Forselius met Blackburn’s mother while on a 15,000-mile trip around Europe and the U.S. in 2008.
“His mother gave me his ashes and asked me to fulfill his last wish,” Forselius said in a news release. “I am traveling with his ashes ever since then and I am even running my marathons with his remains.”
This is Forselius’ sixth time touring the U.S. by bike. He started the current tour in April 2011 with the Boston Marathon. So far, he has run 45 marathons in 37 states.
While in Spokane, Forselius will eat pesto pizza, Blackburn’s last meal.
“Alex, he gives me the reason to continue with my traveling,” Forselius told The Spokesman-Review in July 2011.