The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By Al Stover 

Cyclist races through Ritzville on a cross-country ride to raise awareness for rare skin disorder

 

FREED RIDES. Robb Freed stands outside of the Best Western Bronco Inn on July 19. Freed stopped in Ritzville as part of “The Big Ride for EB.” He is riding across the country to raise awareness for Epidermolysis Bullosa and Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America. -Journal photo by Al Stover

Robb Freed spent the day and evening at the Best Western Bronco Inn in Ritzville on July 19. The next day, he left on his bike, Rowan, and began the ride to Spokane.

The City of Ritzville served as one of Freed’s stops for his cross country bike ride, which he refers to as, “The Big Ride for EB.”

Freed, who is from Glens Falls, New York, is riding across the United States to raise awareness for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). The disease is a rare disorder that causes the skin to be fragile and blister easily.

In 2005, Freed’s son Drake E Freed, was diagnosed with EB and passed away at 13 months old. During that time, Freed and his family received help from the Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America (DEBRA).

The organization raises funds for EB research, as well as assists children and families who are affected by the disease.

After Drake E passed away, Freed explained biking became his therapy. He noted people began suggesting he ride his bike across the country to raise awareness for the disease and DEBRA.

Freed began the trip on in Jacksonville, Florida, on March 28 and rode west, stopping in different cities.

It took Freed 97 days and 4,424 miles to complete the first half of the ride, which took him to Astoria, Oregon, on July 4.

Freed said he will ride east and plans to visit more children and families affected by EB. He intends to finish the journey at Coney Island, New York, at the end of September, or early October.

Freed described the cross country ride as a surreal experience. During the trip, he has stopped in large cities and small towns to share his story with others, as well as meet children diagnosed with EB.

He noted the journey has been filled with several positive experiences, as well as obstacles including crashes and weather-related delays.

Freed described Rowan as his companion for the trip. He received suggestions from people to name his bike.

He held a contest to determine the bike’s name and settled on Rowan because it was the name of a girl, and a boy, who both suffered from EB.

People who want to follow Freed’s progress on the ride can visit the website, https://www.thebigrideforeb.com. The page features maps of Freed’s outbound and returning trips, his story and resources for EB research. It also features comments from people he met in different states.

Freed’s goal is to raise $1 million for EB research. He has helped raise $15,824 as of press time.

People can also submit a donation on the website. Freed explained 90 percent of all of the donations that go though the website will directly benefit DEBRA.

The remaining 10 percent of the donation will be divided among charities based in the Glens Falls area: Lake George Region for WIN, Upstate NY Autism Alliance, Luzerne Music Center, WAIT House-Glens Falls and The South High Marathon Dance.

The website also features merchandise for sale and raffles items, including collector post cards from cities Freed visited.

He explained the proceeds from merchandise sales and raffles help cover trip expenses and bike repair.

 

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