Spotlight - Raising Awareness
Twenty-two-year-old Wade Dauberman will do everything he can to raise awareness of scleroderma, a rare disease that took the life of his father two years ago. Wade began the bike ride of a lifetime on Sunday, May 6. He left the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) the day after graduation and embarked on a planned 4,700-mile solo bike trek across the United States.
Wade’s father, James Dauberman, passed away in Sept. 2010 due to complications from scleroderma. The autoimmune disease attacks a person’s skin and internal organs, causing them to tighten and harden. The cause and cure of the disease remain unknown. In the case of Wade’s father, doctors didn’t know he had scleroderma until it was too late. He ended up on dialysis and required several surgeries.
Then, he acquired an infection that his body and frail immune system couldn’t fight off and eventually took his life.
“If you look at my dad’s case, he wasn’t diagnosed properly,” said Wade. “I want to help others get a diagnosis faster and have a better chance. You can’t beat scleroderma entirely but you can break it down so it doesn’t affect your life as much.”
As a cycling instructor and personal trainer at FIT, Wade realized a bike trip was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of scleroderma and help the Scleroderma Foundation, the nation’s leading support, education and research organization for people living with the disease. However, instead of planning a small hundred-mile journey, he organized a grueling trip that was to take him across the country. He planned to see some great attractions such as Mount Rushmore, Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. and Yellowstone National Park. He knew he would encounter a few challenges. “The challenging part is the Rocky Mountains. It’s just brutal,” he said. “There are so many hills, and I’m carrying a lot of extra weight on my bike. I’ll have about 40 extra pounds of baggage with my tent, sleeping bag and bike tools. But really, the hardest part is going to be the mental and physical toll of riding alone.”
“We are honored to team up with Wade on this remarkable journey to honor his father’s legacy. Not only that, his trip will raise much-needed awareness about scleroderma. This trip is a message of hope and a reminder to everyone with a connection to scleroderma that there are others battling to find a cure,” said Robert J. Riggs, chief executive officer of the Scleroderma Foundation.