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3 Greer brothers plan cycling across U.S. for greater purpose

Bring awareness to 'Race to Cure Blindness' program

Published on Saturday, June 1, 2013

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The Garrigan family (left to right) are Paul Sr., Becky, Lauren, Paul Jr. David and Thomas.

The Garrigan family (left to right) are Paul Sr., Becky, Lauren, Paul Jr. David and Thomas.

Motivated to make a difference for their father and uncle who are losing vision to a genetic eye disease, three brothers from Greer, are embarking on the trip of a lifetime:  a 50-day, bike ride across the United States.

The Garrigan brothers – Paul, Jr., 24, David, 21, and Thomas, 19 – were inspired by their father, Paul Sr.’s, cross-country cycling trip 25 years ago with a childhood friend. “Growing up we heard stories of him riding 100 miles a day, sleeping in frat houses, and eating peanut butter sandwiches by the loaf,” Paul, Jr. said. “Visions of biking grandeur began to populate our minds.”

They’re looking forward to the brotherly bonding, the spectacular sights and the memorable encounters along the way, but this cycling excursion has a greater purpose.

The brothers will be raising awareness and funds through the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ Race to Cure Blindness program, to benefit research that could help save and restore sight for millions, including their father and uncle. Paul, Sr., and his brother, Mike, both have Usher syndrome, a genetic condition that robs both hearing and vision.

“We’ve seen first-hand how blinding eye diseases impact people’s lives and want to do as much as we can to help advance treatments and cures. So, as we tour America, we’ll be handing out business cards to our fundraising page and engaging anyone and everyone in the fight against blindness,” David said. “Our dad is the most positive person we know, and he’s a light to everyone he meets. We want to give back as a thank you for all he has given us, our family and others around him.”

The obstacles and timing fell into place perfectly for the brothers to take the journey this summer. Paul Jr., a 7th grade math teacher at Riverside Middle School, has time off of work. David, a 2013 Clemson University grad, won’t begin his job until August. And Thomas, who will be attending Anderson University in the fall to run cross country and track, got his coach’s blessing to take the trip during prime training time.

After a year of planning, they’ll begin their trek on Thursday, June 6, in Medford, Ore., poised to conquer 4,200 miles, cycle in 13 different states, and navigate through natural wonders such as Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon. They plan to camp most nights, and expect to arrive at their end destination of Charleston sometime in late July. 

To follow the Garrigan brothers’ adventures, visit their blog here. To donate to their fight against blindness, visit here. click on “Find a Participant,” and search the last name “Garrigan” to get to their Band of Brothers fundraising page.

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