Reporting Jenn Bernstein
By Jenn Bernstein
CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. (CBS) – It’s an inspirational trek; John Byrne is bicycling across the country for his sister, Lauren.
Lauren is 22-years-old and a quadriplegic; she became disabled after an accident seven years ago. She depends on her family for transportation.
A specialized vehicle would cost more than $50,000, but John has set out to help her gain independence, riding across the country to raise money for one.
“There’s been a lot of challenging days on this ride, going through Kansas and Missouri and the winds and the hills,” said John, “there’s been a few times where I’ve hit the wall and I thought, my sister’s been going through this for seven years, I can go through this for 36 days!”
John, a California firefighter, began at the Golden Gate Bridge in September, and is making his way to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Conshohocken Fire Department gave him a warm welcome with sirens and trucks on Friday, and let him stay over to rest Friday night.
Saturday morning, Fire Chief Stephen Phipps helped lead them off on the final leg of the journey.
“For what he’s doing and what his sister is going through, this is just a show of support,” said Chief Phipps.
“I love my sister a lot,” said John before he took off for Saturday’s ride, “we’ve developed a really strong relationship over the years that’s like no other.”
John’s best friend, Michael DeLeo, has cycled part of the journey. “We want to make sure Lauren gets this vehicle, if you ever get a chance to meet Lauren you’d know why she inspired so many of us,” said DeLeo.
It’s a labor of love that John says he’ll remember forever, and there’s no doubt, Lauren will too.
“I think with her attitude, she’s going to inspire a lot of people in life,” said John.
They are expected to finish their ride Sunday.
If you would like to donate, head to www.laurensride.org.