A Fort Wayne man is ready to bike across America to raise awareness for Mad Anthony’s Children’s Hope House. The goal of the 4,200 mile journey is to bike 150 miles a day for about 30 days. The reason is to help families stay close together when caring for a sick child.
Andrew Gritzmaker’s ride across the United States will take him from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. The experience is known as the Trans Am Race.
Gritzmaker, the Mad Anthony’s Children’s Hope House Executive Director, wants to bring attention to what it’s like to live for an extended period of time without the comforts of home.
The Hope House takes in parents who desperately need to stay close to a sick or injured child during hospital stays.
Gritzmaker said he’ll never forget when they took in a family whose twins were prematurely born at at 6 months, both weighing under two pounds.
“So we really formed a great bond and their children now are over four years old and they’re doing exceptionally well,” he said. “I saw the importance of having a house like ours so close to their children each and everyday and though the medical staff at the hospital was taking care of their children, it still meant so much for them to be next to them.”
While his Race Across America can’t compare to the trials of the families they host, Gritzmaker hopes it can draw parallels that pull people to their cause.
“Just like our families, there’s no way I can totally prepare for this trip,” he said. “No one can prepare for a 4,200 mile journey sleeping outside for 30 straight days, going an extended period of time without meals. That’s the big parallel and the other parallel is just being so far from home like our families face without the comforts of home and also relying on perfect strangers for hospitality to make sure that they can get through the crisis that they face just like I’m going to have to get through the challenges I’m going to face on the road.”
Gritzmaker takes off on June 2.