ST LOUIS, MO--(Marketwired - Sep 4, 2014) - The Matthew and Andrew Akin Foundation today announced that its fourth annual 700 Miles to Hope bike ride will kick off one month from today on October 4. The Foundation encourages supporters to help meet its goal of raising $500,000 of funding toward a cure for Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a rare and life-threatening immune system condition. Today, the only known cure for HLH is a bone marrow transplant.
All proceeds raised during the 700 Miles to Hope journey will be donated directly to the HLH Center of Excellence at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the most experienced medical center in the nation treating HLH. Funds will be used to support the Center's four core priorities of research, education, clinical care and family support. To further the cause, an anonymous donor has pledged to match donations up to $250,000.
The 700 Miles to Hope ride spans more than 700 miles and is completed over the course of seven days, beginning in Natchez, MS and ending at the front doors of Cincinnati Children's. What started as just one father riding in memory of his two young sons has evolved over the course of four years into something much bigger. This year, more than 20 riders will pedal 700 miles for the children they've lost, the children who are currently fighting this horrible disease and for those who may be diagnosed in the future. The team has formed a strong bond based on shared experiences of loss and love, and a deep desire to make a difference.
Team leader Justin Akin, who lost two young sons, Matthew and Andrew, to HLH, says, "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."
Here are five ways to get involved in this year's 700 Miles to Hope Ride:
For more information on the 700 Miles to Hope ride, please visit here.
About The Matthew and Andrew Akin Foundation
The Matthew and Andrew Akin Foundation was founded by Justin and Kristin Akin in honor of their two young sons who lost their lives to a rare immune disorder called Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) -- Andrew in 2009 and Matthew in 2010. Currently the only known cure for HLH is a bone marrow transplant. Between the two of them, Matthew and Andrew underwent four transplants, during which time the Akin family lived in and out of three different hospitals. This horrible disease took two wonderful little boys who will be missed forever. In their memory, the foundation is dedicated to helping families who are currently battling HLH and those who will have to in the future. The foundation's core mission is to support the world-renowned experts at the HLH Center of Excellence at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and their four priorities: Research, Education, Clinical Care and Family Support. For more information, please visit http://www.matthewandandrew.org.