David Confer Washington DC Cyclist Dying of Cirrhosis – Bicycling

25November 2020

The Washington, D.C. bike community is preparing to bid farewell to one of its most cherished cyclists. David Confer, 52, a regional bike shop owner, mechanic, and popular ride and race organizer, is passing away from cirrhosis.

Even if you don't know him personally, you've most likely ridden with Confer, if you've done any sort of social ride, street feline, or crit race in Washington, D.C. He's recognizable by his fun-loving character and customized track bike (and frequently, a neon pink wig on irreversible loan from his partner).

“If there was something occurring with a bike here in the district, he was there,” Cate Cohen, Confer's longtime partner, told Bicycling.

In March 2019, Confer awakened one morning violently vomiting blood, his very first indicator of severe liver failure. He ended up in the ICU, where he spent a few days on a ventilator.

Confer's group of doctors determined that he needed a liver transplant, and through lots of healthcare facility journeys and treatments, they attempted to keep Confer's health as best they could. Confer was also in remission from cancer, having actually been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in early 2017– but his medical professionals convinced him that a transplant was still possible.

When Confer wound up back in the ICU this September, a various physician, who Cohen referred to as “terrific” and “thoughtful,” was more upcoming about Confer's real odds: He ‘d just ever had a five-percent possibility of receiving a transplant, and likely had 2 to 3 months delegated live.

Bicycling Magazine/Photo by Kayla Reefer Bicycling All Access bicycling.com In the wake of this devastating news, Cohen created a GoFundMe called”Help David Die With Dignity.”The cash raised will allow Confer to live out his staying days in relative convenience at home surrounded by liked ones, and will assist spend for funeral costs. As entertainment professionals, Confer and Cohen have run out work because of the coronavirus pandemic, and they've long because lacked unemployment. To help out, you can contribute here. Cirrhosis includes a multitude of disabling symptoms. As your liver function degrades , ammonia builds up inyour blood and goes to your brain, triggering hepatic encephalopathy . Because of this, Confergoes through stages of severe sleepiness, impaired cognition, and even amnesia. Fluid develops in his abdomen, which he now drains pipes in the house through a catheter. And his liver has difficulty processing nutrients, which has actually resulted in weight-loss and muscle degeneration.” There are times he does not recognize me,” Cohen stated. Nonetheless, even in the face of all these obstacles, Cohen stated he's managed it”with a massive quantity of self-respect and guts.”

david confer outside of his home this past october

Confer beyond his house in October. Kevin Dillard When Confer was going through cancer treatment in

early 2017, he continued to ride his bike practically every day.” There were really couple of days where he didn't at least go drag a bike out and push out a few laps around the block, “Cohen said.

He ‘d bring you into the house, sit you on the couch, get you something to consume, then tell you what was incorrect with your bike and how he was going to repair it. Today, the swelling in his legs and the muscle atrophy that comes with cirrhosis has actually made it impossible for him to ride at all– he last rode his bike in the spring. Confer now spends the majority of his time in bed, at one point sleeping for five days straight, save for journeys to the bathroom. When he does stroll, it's slowly and with a lot of unsteadiness. Cohen said they've struggled to get Confer's medical insurance supplier to cover his medical requirements. His supplier finally authorized in-home care and a medical facility bed for Confer in mid-November, but only after Cohen plagued higher-ranking executives at the business. And it still hasn't sufficed. “They can't discover sufficient evidence that he requires 20 hours a week of caregiving,” Cohen said. So, using cash from the GoFundMe, she's been paying private nurses to come work to fill in those gaps in care.

Likewise thanks to the earnings from their GoFundMe page, Cohen has actually been able to stay by Confer's side everyday instead of needing to discover work to cover medical expenses, rent, and other expenditures.


In in between working as an audio engineer, Confer ran a bike shop out of his house called Fathom Custom Bikes. He's developed countless bikes for individuals with care and passion, seeing each one as an artwork. Individuals liked bringing their bikes to him, Cohen said, and he was generous with discounting his work. His consumers weren't just getting their bike fixed, they were hanging around with a good friend, and likely finding out a bit about bike mechanics as well.

“He ‘d bring you into your home, sit you on the sofa, get you something to eat, then tell you what was incorrect with your bike and how he was going to repair it,” Cohen said.

david confer laying on the ground next to his track bike, reaching out to the camera

Kevin Dillard When a next-door neighbor got into a mishap with her bike, Confer was the very first person she called, not her other half.”She brought the bike right over, “Cohen stated, laughing at the memory.”David most likely provided her a beer. “Cohen stated Confer wrenched bikes for as long as he physically had the ability to this year, out of his sheer love of doing so and assisting those who pertained to him. Throughout the years, Confer has likewise founded or assisted arrange a myriad of group flights and races, including Critical Mass D.C. and D.C. Bike Party. Another enjoyable local favorite is”Tour de Bike Lane” where participants post up along a popular bike lane throughout night rush hour to cheer on cyclists as they pass by, often to the noise of vuvuzelas and shouts of”

david confer organizing a crit
thanks for riding a bike!” Confer arranging the Dirty Diamond Crit. Kevin Dillard From 2014 to 2015, Confer organized Friday night”Showdown Sprints.”At five dollars to go into, bicyclists would show up, “cowboy design,”and race each other in 200-yard sprints following a bracket system, winner take all.”People liked it,”Cohen said. Confer hosted numerous crit races, including the”Hole in the Wall “crit that he held in a deserted (a minimum of on weekends)federal government car park over in southeast D.C. Cohen stated he and friends headed out
david confer at the hole in the wall crit

and blackpatched all of the holes in

the lot, came up with a course, and”guerilla'ed a crit.”

Kevin Dillard And after that there was the”World Series of Dice “street feline, which featured dice games at a few of the stops.”David bought a lot of play money and had actually people set up to rob the dice video games,”Cohen said.”The guy has such a funny bone.” But it wasn't always enjoyable and video games. Confer has likewise been committed to concerns of social justice and equality. In 2016, he and a good friend arranged a flight that they called the”Not Cool Bro Ride.”It was produced out of their interest in the street harassment and cat-calling that ladies typically face, in addition to”the manner in which the bike neighborhood can have this real bro culture to it,” Cohen stated. Confer and the group rode

to the actions of the Supreme Court, where they talked about gender equality and the significance of males holding each other responsible in the method they deal with women.”David is a fierce feminist,”Cohen stated.”He is truly fantastic.”He likewise started a monthly, no-drop”Color of Cycling”ride, with the objective of motivating greater diversity on two wheels. The ride would constantly start at the African American Civil War Memorial. And every trip would end at a neighborhood dining establishment for the group to buy from, to highlight a different part of the city that the bicyclists might not have checked out previously. Confer was constantly really intentional in his meeting and end point options for his rides. Kevin Dillard Above all, Cohen said that Confer loved arranging these flights and fostering a sense of community for all kinds of bike lovers. While his ride of option has constantly been a track bike, he didn't care what sort of bike you were on.”He's so precious … He's one of those individuals

who just brings

everyone together,”Cohen said.”He liked to share the things that he liked.”With the pandemic, Confer hasn't been able to hang around with most of his good friends, especially considering that he got home from the hospital in September. But they've attempted to make every moment count and have had some loved ones visit– consisting of Confer's daughter, mother, and granny– as preventative measures allow

. On October 11, lots of Confer's friends held a trip in his honor. They rode from Dupont Circle, a regular beginning point for much of Confer's trips, to his house, while stopping at several of his preferred spots along the way. The big group collected outdoors at the corner of Confer's house to invest some socially distanced time with him.

He mixed out of the house and rested on the front actions, as individuals came up to speak with him. david confer on october 11 sitting outside his home, his friends visiting wearing masks

)”/ >

Kevin Dillard Confer is spending his days at home along with Cohen, their feline, and the couple of enjoyed ones who can safely come to remain and assist. He rotates in between spaces as he's able. Beyond that little world, he's supported by his seemingly limitless circle of good friends, however distantly, who regularly drop in to drop off Confer's favorite food and drink.

Before he goes to sleep, Cohen puts a brain-shaped tension ball in each of Confer's hands. Yet another adverse effects of cirrhosis, he experiences intense muscle spasms at times, causing him to clench his fists so firmly that he ‘d cut his palms open with his own nails without them. As she does so, Cohen jokingly tells him to “keep his brains.”

Even now, she said, Confer still hasn't lost his sense of humor. “We've had a terrific life together with a lot of delight and laughter. If you can't joke in the face of the worst thing ever, what are you going to do?”

To assist Confer, you can donate through GoFundMe.

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Source: bicycling.com

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