Starting May 7 and ending June 30, Joey Colon Mount Union `14 and his teammate Nick Thomas biked 3,624 miles across the country to raise money and awareness on mitochondrial pyruvate carrier deficiency (MPYCD) a type of Mitochondrial Disease.

Colon, who is a member of the cross country team and track and field team, biked from Boston, Mass. to Eugene, Ore. Thomas’ sister, Val, was diagnosed with MPYCD, a disease that harms energy producing cells which stunted growth. Val was diagnosed at the age of seven and continually battles this disease in her mid-twenties.

During their travels, the bikers would stay at hotels and Warm Showers locations, houses by cyclists that offer their hospitality to other traveling cyclists or camp outside. During their travels they saw Mt. Rushmore, pedaled elevation levels as high as 10,000 feet above sea level and paid tribute to Steve Prefontaine’s Memorial in Eugene, Ore. At the end of it all, they were able to raise $3,000 for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation over the course of their travels.

“It was one of the most fulfilling and exhilarating things I have ever done. Being able to bike and raise awareness for an amazing cause was rewarding.” Colon says.