Age 64 - Cheyenne, Wyoming
This Former Army Ranger Bicycles to His Dialysis Treatments
Ivan Seladis is usually the first patient to show up in the morning for treatment at his local dialysis clinic in Cheyenne, Wyo. Like clockwork, the retired U.S. Army Ranger arrives for his treatment sessions promptly at 5 a.m., three days a week. The clinic’s staff members sometimes joke that he should be hired to open the facility in the mornings. But what really earns their admiration is how he gets there.
Ivan makes the eight-mile round trip between the clinic and his downtown Cheyenne home on his bike. Rain or shine, even during the frigid Wyoming winters, he pedals his trusty two-wheeler mountain bike to and from his dialysis treatments.
During his 21-year Army career, Ivan, 64, actually jumped out of airplanes over Vietnam with a bicycle – a specially designed lightweight, folding bike equipped with a separate parachute – which allowed him to meet up with troops on the ground. Considering that experience, it’s no wonder that a simple bicycle commute is not such a big deal. In fact, Ivan typically rides five days a week, and sometimes logs 10 to 15 miles on days he doesn’t have treatments. When he’s not bicycling or getting treatments, he tries to stay busy with yard work or shoveling snow. “I feel better when I exercise,” he says.
Ivan started on dialysis three years ago, after his kidneys failed due to diabetes and high blood pressure. And although he’s had to adopt a dialysis-friendly diet and make other changes to accommodate the frequent blood-filtering treatments, he doesn’t see any reason to curtail his active lifestyle.
“Bike riding is amazing,” says Ivan, whose enthusiasm is so contagious that he’s been asked to speak to the clinic’s dialysis support group on the topic. He’s eager to encourage others to consider cycling, but he also realizes it may be too strenuous for some patients. For them, he suggests walking.
“If you can walk, walk as far as you’re able, and see if every week you can add a little more distance,” he suggests.