BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This week, two men will wrap up their cross-country bike ride with the goal of helping to save the life of a Shelby County boy.
Gabe Griffin suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease that affects one in 3,600 boys in the United States.
The Ride4Gabe is an effort to raise awareness and a cure.
Just looking at nine-year-old Gabe Griffin, you wouldn’t know that anything was wrong, but there’s something deadly hiding in his muscles.
Scott Griffin, Gabe’s father, says that between 10 and 12 he’ll be in a wheelchair and by 17 to 20 he’ll lose his life. His father also said that there is a trial drug out there that the family is trying to fight to get.
As it would be for any father, it’s been tough to watch his son go through such a disease. He says, “As a dad we fight to keep our kids healthy and when they fall we put bandaids on it but I can’t fix this alone.”
Michael Staley is one of the two cyclists who have trekked over 3,000 miles through 11 states. He met Gabe while working in Congressman Spencer Bachus’s office and felt like he had to do something.
Staley says the symbolism of his journey and the challenges it brings are nothing compared to what Gabe and his family, along with 15,000 other children with DMD have to go through.
Governor Robert Bentley declared August 11 Ride4Gabe Day in his honor.
Throughout the trip, the team has been raising money and awareness for the disease. Staley says it’s been amazing to meet so many people along the way. He tells of meeting one particular truck driver in Wyoming.
“We got into Wyoming, we had a truck driver, an 18-wheeler driver, who pulled over on the side of the road while we were fixing a flat tire,” he said. “He slammed on his brakes, got out of the truck and said ‘I heard you on the radio. Here’s all the money I’ve got in my pocket.””
The cyclists began their 3,300 mile journey in Oregon at the end of June.
They’ll finish in Mobile on Thursday.
Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News