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Cross-country bike ride raises awareness for ‘Hope for Gabe’ foundation

Gabe Griffin of Shelby County, Ala. hopes for a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. (CONTRIBUTED)
Gabe Griffin of Shelby County, Ala. hopes for a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON COUNTY – For his ninth birthday this summer, Gabe Griffin of Birmingham is receiving the gift of a lifetime from his parents.

Scott and Traci Griffin’s twin son Gabe has a genetic mutation, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A lack of dystrophin, a protein that helps keep muscles intact, causes the dystrophy.

Gabe’s has generalized weakness, and his muscles are wasting away over time. No cure exists, but medical advances have led to promising clinical trials. The Griffins run a foundation called Hope for Gabe (H4G).

Two bicyclists, Michael Staley and Wes Bates, are taking Gabe’s message across America with their campaign named Ride4Gabe. They hope to raise enough awareness and donations to one day save Gabe’s life.

Their trek entered Lacey’s Spring on Aug. 6. They rode through Hazel Green and Huntsville on their 35-day ride that has covered 10 states and more than 2,750 miles. Staley is an Alabama native who lives in Washington, D.C. Bates of Aurora, Colo. attends Indiana University.

“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,” Scott Griffin said. “A promising drug has slowed the progression of this disorder.”

“Wes and I feel led to educate people about this disorder. We believe that Duchenne can be stopped,” Staley said. “Gabe’s life can be saved. We are asking community leaders and cyclists in each city and state along our route to get involved.”

The Ride4Gabe website (ride4gabe.com) chronicles the entire trek, including live daily updates, location photos, videos and overnight blog entries.

For more information, call 423-326-5406.

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