My story is one that has unfortunately become almost too familiar within the black community. I was raised in a single family household without a father, although my mother and sisters loved me with everything they had. My neighborhood seems to allow violence and dysfunction within our community and accept this behavior as truth or “just the way it is.” Because of my low social economic background and educational history, my future was supposedly destined and projected for me to either end up incarcerated or deceased at a very early age.
I have been surrounded by chronic disease both within my family history and ethnic culture, including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Fortunately throughout my life I have always been ahead of the curve, meaning I have always been able to overcome insurmountable odds. Since my last name starts with a “B” and I am abnormally big, I have always been first and I have always led! I have recently defied another set of odds.
In 2011, after learning that I had a blood vessel burst in my brain (aneurism) which bled out of my nose, my life was spared. Now I battle to stay alive, conquering the other chronic illnesses I shared that affect my health.
As an African American, I am pre-disposed to all these chronic diseases, but more than just those diseases, I have been pre-disposed to “Apathy“. This combination built against insurmountable odds to just survive in the world, can all but destroy your spirit!
Now after my trials and tribulations, I have developed a sense of who I am and what I should be “Standing Up” for. This is why I am riding across America on a Standup Elliptigo machine 1892 miles against insurmountable odds, supporting and promoting the underdog. Primarily non-profits and the people who continue to fight to make our world a better place despite having the odds stacked against them.
Just so you know, I am not an endurance athlete nor am I an extreme thrill seeker. I am just a guy who has experienced enough challenges in my lifetime to be classified as “at risk“. I hopefully can bring some new insight and understanding to what that classification brings. Because there is now a new designation for “at risk”, characterized as everyone in America!
My message is simple: “Stand Up America.”
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr. •