New Orleans man biking 6,500 miles for great cause

A New Orleans man is riding his bike across the country to raise money and awareness for his nephew who has Down Syndrome.

Chris Sweeney left New Orleans Wednesday to start his Ride for Reid journey, cycling 6,500 miles. Seven-year-old Reid was born with Down Syndrome and is Chris’ youngest nephew. “Ever since he was born, I wanted to do something to kind of help him and his future. I have always wanted to tour across the country. So, we kind of met those two things together and now it’s finally a reality. We are just getting started.”

Chris will bike along the Gulf Coast beaches and continue across Florida to the Atlantic Coast. Once he hits the water, he will follow the East Coast Greenway to Washington, D.C. After that he will bike along the Great American Rail Trail and end up on the West Coast in Seattle and finally San Francisco. “It’s going to be a challenge. 6,500 miles across the country and Reid is definitely the inspiration. I know it’s going to be difficult, but I think we can do it, take it slow, one day at a time. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”

Chris was born with a club foot and a missing nerve down his right leg and had trouble walking so biking became his outlet. “My parents bought me a bike early on. I started riding my bike a long time and loved it. I can’t walk and can’t run normally like everyone else so I can ride a bike.”

Reid’s father, Craig Sweeney, says just like his brother is taking the scenic route to take time and enjoy the views is kind of how kids with Down Syndrome are. “They can do just about anything everybody else can. You’re just going to take the scenic route. It’s going to take a little bit of time.”

The goal is to raise $100,000 that would go toward opening a café in Louisiana to employ kids and adults who have special needs. The café would be called Reid Rocks Café. Craig said, “I was totally amazed that Chris came up with this idea. What better way to be able to build something not just for Reid, but for the whole special needs community.”

Ride for Reid is open to anyone who would like to join. The ride will end in July.

PJ’s Coffee in Bay St. Louis donated $500 to the Ride for Reid Foundation. So far, the foundation has raised $40,000. The goal is $100,000.

If you would like to donate and follow Chris Sweeney’s journey, visit their Facebook page at ‘Ride for Reid.’

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