My boyfriend Doug is such a go-getter, such a team player, that I would always tell people, You want something done? Doug’ll do it. And I volunteered him for various tasks at Save One Life, which he cheerfully accepted and did. One year I even made magnets and lapel buttons for the Save One Life team that read “Doug’ll Do It!” as a joke.
It’s no joke now. Doug did it! He cycled 3,784 miles coast to coast—from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine, arriving Thursday, October 5 on a grey and windy day in Maine, to dip his wheel in the Atlantic Ocean. It was an incredible feat, for someone who is 66, and only took up riding nine years ago, when he first met me. Combined, his efforts and those of our community around the country who participated in the Wheels for the World campaign, raised over $230,000 to support the mission of Save One Life, the nonprofit I founded 21 years ago. It was our biggest fundraiser ever.
Doug is inspired by Save One Life’s mission, to give direct financial support and medicine to those with bleeding disorders in developing countries. Save One Life assists over 1,200 people who live in poverty, in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Kenya and ten other countries. It offers direct sponsorship, college scholarships, microenterprise grants, camp support and millions of dollars worth of blood-clotting medicine.
But Doug was also inspired by an incredible individual: the late Barry Haarde.
Barry was an avid cyclist with hemophilia who completed six—six!—long distance tours over six years to raise money for Save One Life. From coast to coast, with his final one dubbed “Call of the Wild” from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Anchorage, Alaska. His tours totaled over 20,000 miles and raised over $230,000 for Save One Life!
What was remarkable about his achievement was that Barry had hemophilia, HIV and a contracted knee joint… health issues that would stop most people from considering this audacious ride. But Barry was not most people…he was driven by memories of the brother and brother-in-law he lost to hemophilia and HIV, and all the friends in the community lost to HIV. In addition, he knew firsthand the pain suffered by those in developing countries who often lack access to blood-clotting medicine.
Doug met Barry twice, and both learned that they loved cycling, both worked at Hewlett Packard, and both admired the work of Save One Life. Doug was in awe of Barry. Barry passed away in 2018, and no one since has dared to fill his cycling shoes. But Doug’ll do it! And he did. I’m so proud of Doug: the time he invested in training all year, the time spent away from me and home, his dedication and discipline, and his accomplishment.
Thanks to all who donated to this cause, thanks to our major sponsors, Sanofi and CVS, and for all the prayers. Through the Rockies, the cornfields, the highways and hills, he was safe and is now home. And Save One Life continues on, to help the needy.
Yesterday was a celebration of his accomplishment and a surprise announcement! We have a new volunteer for next year! James’ll do it! James is from Texas and was a friend of Barry’s. So the torch has been passed and we wish James much success in 2024!