Cyclists Ride Across America to Support Young Friend

Published 07/30 2014 06:49PM

Updated 07/30 2014 10:37PM

PEKIN - Very few people can say they’ve ridden their bikes across the country.

Even fewer can say they’ve done it for someone they barely know.

That’s what two cyclists- who stopped in Pekin today- are doing, as they try to raise enough money to save a life.

Michael Staley and West Bates are riding 33-hundred miles, from the upper west coast, down to Alabama for a nine-year old boy named Gabe Griffin.

“Gabe has a special spark about him. He's not only a cute, red headed kid, but he engages everyone he comes across. He wants to tell you what he thinks,” said Michael Stanley.

Gabe met Michael when he and his family were visiting Michael’s boss, an Alabama congressman, in Washington D.C.  Michael just so happened to be in the office that day.

“He wanted to look in every cabinet and every door and what's going on here. Then we sat down and his parents told me about Duchene,” said Stanley.

Duchene Muscular Dystrophy is caused by the absence of a protein that keeps muscles intact. It’s a genetic mutation that has plagued Gabe since early childhood.

Without a cure, it will probably take Gabe’s life by the time he’s twenty.

“A family friend of ours passed away from Duchene of December last year.”

That’s why Indiana student Wes Bates agreed to join Michael on his ride across the country.

He’s a part of his college’s cycling team and is a regular rider.

That’s why Indiana student Wes Bates agreed to join Michael on his ride across the country.

“It just felt like a calling for me and something I that I needed to do.

The duo is raising money for DMD research.

They stop in towns, like Pekin, to share their new friend’s story, hoping a cure can be discovered before it’s too late.

“When our muscles get tired or worn out, they recover. When Gabe's muscles get tired or worn out, they die,” said

12;39;05 Natural Sound Bikes Riding.

And when they do get tired after a day of riding nearly 100 miles, they just think of Gabe.

“Our battle is nothing compared to what he goes through. At the end of the day, you know, we'll be done riding on August 14th. But their family's battle does not end.

Contribute to Gabe’s family’s foundation at

Learn more about Michael and Wes’s journey at


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