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Rocket Man

Richard Lovrich is aiming for 100 miles on his bike this month, a tribute to Alpha-1 Awareness.

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Richard Lovrich and oxygen compressor for his bike
Richard Lovrich, who has a rare disease affecting the lungs, rides a bike outfitted with an oxygen compressor. Photos by Richard Lovrich

For a time, Richard Lovrich rode a bike with a steel oxygen tank affixed to the rear. It was a powerful look that once prompted a child to ask: “Is that a rocket?”

Lovrich, who as the rare disease Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, uses a sleek O2 concentrator now. He needs the assistive oxygen sometimes because Alpha 1 affects the lungs and breathing. Those who have Alpha 1 lack a protein that protects the lungs from excessive inflammation.

A lifelong creative, working in design and in the theater, Lovrich specializes in adapting and is known as an energetic advocate for the cause. He racked up 14 cycling miles in one day on a recent outing and he’s aiming for 100 by the end of September, which is Alpha-1 Awareness Month.

“Although I have this chronic, degenerative and inherited lung disorder, I am lucky enough to be able to ride,” Lovrich wrote.

He has a fundraising goal of $1,500. Visit his Alpha-1 Foundation page to donate. You also can follow his Lovrich’s progress onhis Facebook pageand find other riders with the hashtag #Alpha1RidingforaReason.

Team CSL Behring is also participating in the cycling event, which replaces an in-person ride held annually in Cape Cod.