An Alabama high school student is spending the fall semester of his senior year bicycling across the US.
Glyn Glover, 19, suffers from ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Following an RV driven by his mother, he's promoting awareness about the disease on his cross-country bike trip.
Glover, a top-ranked high school football player, was diagnosed with the condition in 2009. He keeps it in check by staying on a strict diet that eliminates as much sugar, fat and processed foods as possible.
'Won't rule my life'
But medications he'd been taking to fight some side-effects of the disease caused a severe seizure, which separated his shoulder. Doctors told him he couldn't play football his senior year because of the injury. He plans to play football in college, so he cast about for another way to stay in shape.
“In 2009, I was hospitalized five times. On two of those occasions I received blood transfusions and a blood clotting agent. It's been tough, but I decided this disease was not going to rule my life,” he told theCarlsbad (NM) Current Argus.
He chose bicycling because of its low impact on the shoulder and cardio-vascular benefits.
South Carolina to California
Glover covers 40 to 80 miles a day. His mother, Melissa Williams, drives ahead and waits for him about every 5 miles. Most nights they camp at RV parks or WalMart parking lots, unless they stay with friends or relatives. Home-schooled, he catches up on his studies at night.
They left Myrtle, South Carolina, in late September and plan to arrive in Los Angeles later this month. Their plans were delayed after taking a week off in Tyler, Texas, so Glyn could recover from a knee injury that occurred when he was pushed off the road by a careless driver.
Most of their experiences have been pleasant, according to their blog at the Cycle4.org website. They check in at church and youth activities at churches along their route and visit roadside attractions. Glyn's latest experience was sandboarding at White Sands in New Mexico.
Bicycling slowly across the country must be a real eye-opening experience for his high school senior. We wish him the best of luck on his journey and dealing with his disease.
Glyn's Cycle4.org website not only recounts his journey, but tells about Crohn's and colitis and gives guidance about nutrition to deal with the disease. There's also a space for donations to the trip and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.
If you'd like to ride your bike to support treatment for Crohn's or colitis, you can sign up for a Get Your Guts in Gear bike ride beginning January. Next year's schedule isn't up yet, but there's usually overnight charity bike rides on the East and West coasts and Midwest every year.