Gabe Griffin of Birmingham, Ala., turned 9 this year. This summer his parents are giving him the gift of a lifetime. Two cyclists are taking Gabe’s message of hope across America. They began in Astoria, Oregon on June 28. Thus far, the cyclists have ridden 821 miles and will ride over the pass into Jackson, Wyo. tomorrow morning. After they pass into Jackson Hole, they will be in Wyoming from July 8-July 14, and are inviting the community to join them in support of this cross-country trek. The goal is to raise awareness and money to fund research to cure Gabe's rare disorder.

Scott and Traci Griffin’s twin son suffers from a genetic mutation called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that helps keep the muscles intact. The onset of this fatal disorder occurs during early childhood and causes generalized weakness and muscle wasting that increases over time. While medical advances have led to some very promising clinical trials, to date there is no cure and no one has survived.

Scott said,

“At 9 years old, Gabe walks, hugs, breathes and feeds himself like any other typical child that age. If we don’t find a cure, that will be taken away in the next few years. Without a cure, Gabe is expected by doctors to be in a wheelchair by the time he is 10 to 12 years old. Gabe will lose his life around the age of 20. A promising drug has slowed the progression of this disorder, 156 weeks and counting, but only for those 12 children who have been a part of the trial. There are thousands more who need our help."

The Griffin’s run a foundation called Hope for Gabe (H4G), and the bicycle ride is being called Ride4Gabe. Michael Staley, an Alabama resident who lives in Washington, D.C., and Indiana University student Wes Bates of Aurora, Colorado, are crossing the country, averaging about 75 miles a day, and will eventually complete Ride4Gabe by mid-August. Both riders say they are passionate about educating the public about this muscle-killing disorder that affects one in 3,500 young boys.

The funds Staley and Bates raise will be put towards advancing DMD research. To ensure the majority of the money goes directly to this cause, the foundation secured the donation of a motorhome and SUV in support of their bike ride. Other ongoing requests include camping gear, cycling gear, food, fuel and lodging. Both men welcome cyclists across America to come ride with them along their route.

You can follow the Ride4Gabe cross-country ride on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re interested in riding along with Michael and Wes during their time in Wyoming, they would be happy to have your cycling company.