Ride4Gabe supports Duchenne research, awareness

As years pass, people’s passion for causes can wane. While once people were eager to commit time and even money to finding a cure for a critical disease or pushing their legislators to take note of an issue, inevitably other things enter the picture to draw our attention.

The people behind Ride4Gabe are making sure that does not happen in the fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Michael Staley, Brian Toone and Demetrious White departed from Good People Brewing in Birmingham on July 27 for the Ride4Gabe “Summit Duchenne,” which will take the trio up the second highest paved road in North America.

Pedaling about 220 miles a day, crossing eight states and covering 1,500 miles, they plan to reach the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at an elevation of 14,115 feet above sea level.

The trek is part of an effort to increase awareness about and promote research to find a cure for Duchenne, which afflicts 14-year-old local boy Gabe Griffin, who was diagnosed when he was 3 and whose parents formed an organization to promote research and awareness.

“This is going to be an awesome experience and a very challenging ride, and it is all about Gabe and ending Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy,” said ride organizer Staley. “We will be live streaming our adventure, sharing our pain and suffering, and pointing out that our muscles will recover but Gabe’s do not.”

According to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood, affecting approximately 1 in every 3,500 live male births  –about 20,000 new cases each year worldwide.

Duchenne results in progressive loss of strength. With dystrophin absent from those with Duchenne, muscle cells are easily damaged, and the progressive weakness leads to serious medical problems. Young men with Duchenne typically live into their late 20s.

Those interested in the effort can visit Ride4Gabe.com for more information, to donate and track the progress of the cyclists.

Also, follow Ride4Gabe on Facebook and Instagram for updates from the road.

It is an effort worth following and supporting.

Stephen Dawkins is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 524 or by email at stephen.dawkins@shelbycountyreporter.com.