In 1991, at the age of 11, I was diagnosed with

Lupus Nephritis.

Through my childhood I discovered that by seeking out adventure I was able to carve my own path.  This path allowed me to navigate through the challenges of living life with a threatening illness while maintaining a positive outlook that allowed me to accomplish anything I put my mind to.

I've always loved the outdoors. Cycling has been an instrumental activity for me to connect my mind and body with nature. I started cycling seriously in high school and quickly realized the positive impacts it had on my life. Being fit and participating in serious training seemed to ease many of the side effects from Lupus and from the medicine I was taking (mainly steroids and chemotherapy).

As I entered into my adult years I had a grasp on what I wanted from life. I wanted to live a life surrounded by nature full of peace, adventure, and appreciation for every moment. I did not want my health to dictate what I was able to experience and achieve during my time on this earth. I was chugging along my own tracks until my train derailed.

Dialysis and a Kidney Transplant.

In January of 2014 after 23 years of successfully living with kidney disease, my kidneys failed. Dialysis and an arsenal of medications followed. I hit a brick wall and my life became more stagnant than it had even been. I dreamed of the days I would be able to ride my bike at a level in which I would be able to ride long distances.

I was incredibly fortunate to receive a kidney transplant from a living donor on December 29, 2014. Words cannot express how much this has positively changed my life.

 During a 10 day bout with rejection shortly after transplantation, I promised myself that I would get on my bike and ride across the country if I could beat the rejection. My ultimate plan is to race the Tour Divide. This year has brought a few set backs to my plan and has me traversing the country from north to south on the Adventure Cycling Association's Sierra Cascade Route. My hope is that I can raise awareness for the importance of organ transplantation, proactive kidney health, the need for change in the American healthcare system, and above all provide hope to those struggling with similar circumstances.

GW is the perfect example of what a positive impact transplantation can have on someone’s life.
— Dr. Goes, Swedish Hospital