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Canadian man bikes 1,700 miles to border to honor daughter killed by fentanyl

They raised almost $20,000 for their cause by the time they reached the border.

October 31, 2022 12:42pm

Updated: October 31, 2022 2:45pm

A couple from Vancouver, British Columbia, traveled 1,700 miles to the U.S.-Mexico border to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl after their daughter died of an overdose.

One of them biked the whole way.

Brendan and Colleen O’Brien left Canada on Sept. 13, turning a planned vacation into something more after the death of their 22-year-old daughter Niamh to fentanyl, reports KGET.

“Originally we had threatened to put our bikes in the back of the truck and drive down the coast from Vancouver stopping wherever we wanted to go for a bike ride,” said Branden O’Brien. “But in the interim, our daughter died of a fentanyl overdose and so it turned into something much more serious.”

The grieving couple decided to honor her memory with a charity bike ride for Odyssey 1, which is part of the Boys and Girls Clubs in southern British Columbia.

Brendan rode a bike while Colleen drove a support vehicle. They traveled about 65 miles a day, five days a week, with two days rest in between. 

The couple raised almost $20,000 for their cause by Oct. 28, when they reached the border.

“Our fentanyl comes in from China. More often than not, it arrives in our port of Vancouver and the fentanyl we discuss now and read about that’s found in these parts comes in from Mexico through this border somehow,” said Brendan O’Brien.

The flow of fentanyl from Mexico northward is increasing, according to agents with Customs and Border Patrol.

“Most of it is found during traffic interventions,” Agent Angel Moreno told KGET. “For the year 2021, the San Diego Sector agents seized 1,018 pounds of fentanyl. For 2022, approximately 1,935 pounds of fentanyl were seized.”

“Whatever comes in here, it doesn’t stay along the border, that’s why every town is a border town,” he said. “It’s important for us to really drive that message home so the American public, and as we saw these folks from Canada, narcotics smuggled in don’t just stay here.”