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Ride4Gabe hits Camellia City

Seven cyclists made their way through the Camellia City for the sake of Gabe Griffin, an 11-year-old suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Photographed, from left to right: Charles Catterall, Peter Blessey, Wes Bates, Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon, Michael Staley, Demetrious White, Brian Toone and Greg O’Connor.

Seven cyclists made their way through the Camellia City for the sake of Gabe Griffin, an 11-year-old suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Photographed, from left to right: Charles Catterall, Peter Blessey, Wes Bates, Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon, Michael Staley, Demetrious White, Brian Toone and Greg O’Connor.

Seven cyclists rode through the Camellia City at the break of dawn Monday morning for the sake of Gabe Griffin, a young boy suffering from a very rare disease.

The 11-year-old Birmingham, Ala., native suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a progressive muscle wasting disorder.

Griffin is on the front line of the war with rare pediatric genetic condition.

The Greenville City Council recently joined Griffin’s fight by declaring Aug. 8 as Ride 4 Gabe Day in the City of Greenville to help raise awareness of the condition, and spur further research toward finding a cure.

Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon first learned of Griffin in 2014 when a team of cyclists rode through the Camellia City on a cross-country trek in Griffin’s honor.

Michael Staley, a native of Alabama living in Washington, D.C., Wes Bates of Aurora, Colo., and Shelby County native Glenn Nevans stopped at Greenville City Hall and visited with McLendon.

“Gabe and the other kids that suffer from this disease are what this is all about,” Staley said during the Greenville stop. “We want to educate people about what Duchenne is. If they don’t know what it is they can’t do anything about it.”

Duchenne is caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that helps keep the muscles intact. The onset of this fatal disorder occurs during early childhood and causes generalized weakness and muscle wasting that increases over time. While medical advances have led to some very promising clinical trials, to date there is no cure and no one has survived.

DMD affects one in 3,500 young boys nationwide.

The 11-day ride, which will cover nine states, is meant to demonstrate the rigors and fatigue Duchenne kids feel each and every day.

The funds Staley and Bates raise through their ride will be put towards advancing DMD awareness and research.

The Ride4Gabe website will chronicle the entire trek, including live daily updates, location photos, videos and blog entries.