Can a Man Living With Hemophilia and HIV Bike Across the U.S. -- Twice?
47-Year-Old Texan Cycles 3,456 Miles From California to Massachusetts to Remember Lost Family and Friends and Help People Suffering With Hemophilia in Developing Countries
Cyclist Barry Haarde commenced his second cross-country bike tour, "Wheels for the World 2013: Fast and Furious," in Costa Mesa, California on April 20 to raise funds for Save One Life.
Save One Life supports over 1,000 impoverished children and adults with hemophilia in 11 developing countries through direct sponsorship. Hemophilia is a rare genetic disorder that prevents blood from forming an effective clot. Estimated to occur in one out of every 5,000 male births, untreated hemophilia can cause prolonged internal bleeding, painful joint deformities, crippling and death.
Last summer, Barry became the first person with hemophilia and HIV to cycle across the United States. Starting in Ashland, Oregon, Barry cycled 3,667 miles through eleven states and Canada to arrive in Portsmouth, New Hampshire 50 days later. He dedicated each day of his ride to a person with hemophilia who has lost his life to hepatitis or AIDS and posted their photos and names on Facebook. This included Ryan White, the teenager who became the face of HIV/AIDS in the late 1980s when he was expelled from his school due to his infection. In addition, Barry helped to raise $30,000 for Save One Life.
For many years Barry hid his own HIV-positive status. But after surviving a grueling multi-year treatment to cure his hepatitis in his early forties, Barry decided to make his disorder public. Since then Barry has been symbol of courage, determination and endurance for people with hemophilia around the world.
[Editor's note: Read Barry's own story of testing HIV positive, losing his brother-in-law and brother to AIDS and hepatitis C complications, and becoming a cyclist.]
Barry is an outstanding example of his favorite motto, attributed to musician Bob Marley, "You don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."
"Having survived over thirty years with HIV, and also having recently cured hepatitis C -- from which I'd developed liver cirrhosis -- I have a very strong sense of gratitude and appreciation," says Barry. "Not only have I survived, I am still able to maintain the physical health and conditioning required to ride a bike across America. I can at least honor our lost and help those who still struggle by dedicating my ride to them."
Barry is averaging 110 miles a day and plans to complete his 3,456-mile ride across 15 states in just 30 days. His final destination is Amesbury, Massachusetts. By the time he arrives on May 23, he hopes to have raised over $35,000 for his favorite charity. To learn more about Barry and his Wheels for the World campaign, visit www.SaveOneLife.net.
[Editor's note: The above article was originally released on May 13. Barry Haarde finished his epic ride on May 23. The ride raised more than $37,000 for Save One Life, exceeding their fundraising goal. Check out an in-depth interview with Barry by PositiveLite.com's Bob Leahy about race highlights, his health status while racing, and his thoughts on HIV.]
"Wheels for the World 2013: Fast and Furious" is sponsored by Baxter Healthcare Corporation, The Alliance Pharmacy and Matrix Specialty Pharmacy.