This story By Andrew Davis, Anchor/Reporter –for WSAV T (Georgia) first appeared here. (Click through to see Barry on TV.)
You can read Bob Leahy’s latest PositievLite.com interview with Barry here.
Physical Challenges Don't Stop Man from Incredible Bike Trip
TYBEE ISLAND, GA - It was all hugs and happy faces for 17 riders who are on the last leg of a 27 day, 2900 mile trip across country, all on bikes.
All that's left for these folks is to glove up, take a team picture and one more mile through the Tybee strip, right to the pier, onto the beach, through the sand - past the bathing beauties and to the water to dip their tires in the ocean.
A wet victory lap for all these bikers who made the long trip.
Folks like Ron Ottoway.
Ottoway is 76 years old, just finished chemotherapy, and decided he needed even more of a challenge.
"What does it mean to you to finish?"
"A lot. A lot. It means a lot," said Ottoway.
This is Barry Haarde's third trip across the country. But his journey started long before he got on a bike.
"I was born with severe hemophilia in 1965," explains Haarde. "At a time when the life span was 25 or so for us. And i'm part of the generation of Americans with hemophilia that contracted both HIV and HEP C from the blood supply in the 1980's"
Out of 10,000 of those affected, Only about 2000 remain. And none, says Barry, have taken on a demanding physical event like this.
"Why do it?"
"I guess because I can," said Barry. "There's still a lot of stigma out there connected to HIV. They get diagnosed today with HIV and they think they're life in over."
For every one of these endurance junkies, this ride may be over, and water from the Pacific Ocean has been officially transferred to the Atlantic. But Barry knows no matter what lies ahead, his life is far from finished.
"Here I am. We proved it," said Haarde. "I don't think anybody really thought I could do this, including myself sometimes, but three times later, and hopefully a whole lot more to come. Stay tuned."
Barry isn't just biking for his own health.T hese three rides have raised $120,000 for the charity "Save One Life", which helps get drugs to needy hemophiliacs in developing countries.
For more information, go to www.saveonelife.net.