The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a rousing success on Facebook, and on Oct. 4, a different disease will be the target, as the Matthew and Andrew Akin Foundation will attempt to raise $500,000 for the fight against life-threatening immune system condition hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) with the start of its fourth-annual 700 Miles to Hope bike ride.
The 700 Miles to Hope ride begins in Natchez, Ms., and ends at the front door of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. More than 20 riders will participate this year, led by Justin Akin, who lost two young sons, Matthew and Andrew, to HLH.
All proceeds raised during the #LittleHeroes campaign will be donated directly to the HLH Center of Excellence at Cincinnati Children’s, and an anonymous donor pledged to match donations up to $250,000.
Updates on the 700 Miles to Hope ride will be posted on Facebook and Twitter, and the Matthew and Andrew Akin Foundation is encouraging parents to change their profile pictures to photos of their children riding bikes, along with links to the donation page and calls to action.
Justin Akin said in a release announcing the details of the fourth-annual 700 Miles to Hope ride:
Thinking about all those kids in the hospital fighting HLH … they should be at home riding their bicycles. And that’s why I’m doing this — I’m out here riding my bicycle because they can’t.
We ride because we have hope — hope that together, we can discover a cure for HLH. Hope that we can offer comfort to a family going through an HLH diagnosis. Hope that someday, there won’t have to be another HLH funeral. Each pedal stroke is a step toward the future — a future without HLH.