Eleven bicyclists, including hand cyclists and military veterans, are riding across the country to raise awareness and funds for three programs that support the disabled.

The cycling trip is set to begin near California’s Camp Pendleton on April 10. During the ride, the team is scheduled to link up with Carolinas Rehabilitation’s annual Cycle to the Sea fundraiser to Myrtle Beach, SC, on April 21. Then, on April 24, the ride will end at Camp Lejeune.

Along the way, the riders will cycle in rotating teams of two. Only one overnight stop, in Texas, is planned, during which the team will replenish their supplies, perform bike maintenance, and get a wellness checkup, notes a media release from Carolinas HealthCare System.

A special welcome ceremony, set to take place in Charlotte, NC, on April 19, will feature speakers from all three organizations for which the trip is raising funds and awareness: the Adaptive Sports & Adventures Program at Carolinas Rehabilitation, part of Carolinas HealthCare System; the Semper Fi Fund; and The Independence Fund, per the release.

“For each member of our team, this is a bucket-list item, to cycle across the country, but it’s definitely bigger than that,” says Aaron Harper, event co-director, medically retired Marine Corps sergeant, and Carolinas HealthCare System employee, in the release.

“We know, as differently abled athletes, that what we’re about to do has never been done before.  Using the caregiver-wounded military member model, the teams will physically, emotionally and mentally push each other to the finish line,” he adds.

Team member Robbie Parks, a hand cycle enthusiast paralyzed in an auto accident, states why he is participating in the ride: “I had to learn how to live again, and along the way I have tried my best to show others that life is not over after injury as long as you keep trying. I’m not riding for myself, I’m riding for anyone who has challenges.”

[Source(s): Carolinas HealthCare System, PR Newswire]