Biking toward a dream

The German film The Physician is a story set in the medieval ages about a young boy, Rob, who loses his mother to a mysterious illness. After his mother’s death, Rob vows to study medicine and help people in need.

Rob leaves his life, his mentor – a traveling barber-surgeon – and embarks on a quest to study medicine under the best physician in the world and fulfill his ultimate goal of helping people.

Last year, I left on a similar journey. Like Rob, I mastered my craft and was ready for more.

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I created a four-step plan to quit my job, backpack across South America, bike across the U.S., and find a new job. The idea was to learn more about myself, the world and my place in it.

Throughout my travels, I discovered a need. People who lived in rural areas in developing countries could benefit much more from a dollar than I ever could. For them, $10 could mean a week of groceries. For me, $10 could buy a lunch. I knew I had to do something.

Once I came back from my trip, I researched nonprofits making a difference and discovered World Bicycle Relief. Since I was biking across the U.S. in the spring and fulfilling an 11-year-old dream, I connected to the mission of World Bicycle Relief.

A bicycle connects people in rural Africa to better education, healthcare and economic opportunities, bringing them that much closer to fulfilling their dreams.

So far, I’ve raised $7,099 by spreading awareness about World Bicycle Relief to friends and family. I have another $8,000 coming in from organizing an indoor cycling event and partnering with my dad on his 60th birthday celebrations. In total, that means 100 people will receive life-changing bicycles.

In April, I’ll be starting my bike ride across the U.S. in Yorkstown, Va., on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. It will take me 4,228 miles through the heart of America and into several national parks, and past historic landmarks until I reach the finish line in Astoria, Ore.

It’s been a dream of mine since the 8th grade to bike across the U.S. It would not have been possible without the opportunities available to me while growing up. I’m proud to partner with World Bicycle Relief, to provide those opportunities to other people.

My ultimate goal is to raise $50,000 for World Bicycle Relief to help 340 people. I’m not sure how I’ll do it, but like Rob, I’m on a mission to find out. Everyone deserves a chance to pursue their dreams.

Join me on my journey across the U.S. at ReadAhn and on Instagram @DanAhn.

Start a fundraiser with me or donate today.

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