Hey girl (or boy) heeyyyyy!
My name’s Will. Some may be so adventurous as to now call me Biker Bill. While this story doesn’t begin as the happiest story you’ve ever heard, I’m currently in the process of trying to change the narrative. Stick with me. Stay up to date on my journey. And, if you’d be so kind, support me – whether through donations, or simply kind words.
I’m on a journey to make it back to Maryland with my dog, an adorable Chesapeake Bay Retreiver – McKenzie – safe and sound, in my newly acquired 1981 Honda GoldWing GL1100 with a Vetter sidecar to spend Mother’s Day with my family. Our first Mother’s Day without our mother.
About a month ago my mom passed away from a rare lung disease called Acute Interstitial Pneumonitis (AIP). This deadly disease is not only dastardly, but also a complete mystery as of today.
In five weeks I went from having a completely healthy, extremely active, new job loving, newly remarried, calling me to yell at me for not calling her enough and to plan a trip to visit me in Minnesota for Mother’s Day (because I am the favorite son!) Mother, to having to take an unexpected call one Sunday morning that I’d have to come home to pull the ol’ proverbial plug on my mom.
She had the flu.
The flu became a trip to the ER.
The ER became a stay in the ICU, with a “she’ll be back home with a full recovery in 4-5 days.”
The ICU went from one week, to two, to three…
To she’s just not getting better.
Not getting better became we had to put her on a ventilator overnight because she can’t breathe on her own.
The ventilator meant three options:
1) Wait for her to regain consciousness and keep her on a ventilator for the rest of her life in a wheel chair without any real quality of life, or being able to go back to work.
2) Cross your fingers she’s makes enough of a physical recovery to try a lung transplant – which contains a 50% chance of survival, and a 5-year life expectancy if she survives.
3) Make the hardest decision any of us would ever have to make.
Three options turned to one less than 24 hours later.
I don’t mean to share this story to instill fear in anyone. I only want to share how devastatingly fast AIP can take over, and have you grasp what it truly does – instead of just reading three letters that mean very little to most people (AIP).
My family is not the only family to go through this. And when I asked the doctors, at her request, to donate her lungs for research they told me that it’s more or less pointless because there isn’t anyone looking into the disease. As of today – no one knows where it comes from, no one knows how to treat it, and there is no cure.
I want to put an end to that.
I’m about to embark – pun intended – on a journey halfway across the country (and maybe further!) riding on my newly acquired bike with one of my mom’s best friends – my pup, McKenzie, in attempt to raise funds and awareness for interstitial lung diseases. I may not single-handedly end any diseases, but let’s at least get the ball rollin’!
Follow my journey on this website with updated blog posts, and, please, don’t hesitate to share my story, or support my cause! Every dollar raised will go towards interstitial lung awareness, and research towards preventing deadly lung diseases.
If you have any questions, want to share your own story, or just have something you’d like to say to me in general – feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.