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John Donnally bikes cross country to raise funds and awareness of lyme disease

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 24 2013 09:07:56 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 25 2013 08:25:36 AM CST

Wants to raise money and awareness for lyme disease.

A New Jersey man is biking across the country, hoping to get the wheels rolling for better detection in tick-borne diseases.

John Donnally, 24, started his journey in San Francisco on September 29th.

Donnally teamed up with the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance's "Bite Back For A Cure Bike Ride" campaign.

"I was never a good cyclist growing up," said John Donnally.

But that's not stopping him from traveling nearly 4,000 miles to New York City.

"I just wanted to do something large enough in scope to draw people's attention to this important issue," Donnally said.

Donnally plans to arrive in New York on December 1. Donnally stopped in East Stroudsburg, day 54 of his journey, on Saturday.

But Donnally's true journey started more than a decade ago, when he was in the fifth grade.

"I had a bad case of Lyme Disease growing up. I didn't know a whole lot about it," Donnally said.

Over the years, he learned more about the tick-borne disease.

"I was experiencing a lot of different symptoms growing up. Neurological issues, behavioral issues, neck stuff, sinus issues. It got under-diagnosed, misdiagnosed," Donnally said.

Throughout his travels, he learned he wasn't alone.

"A lot of the people I speak to, they see 50 doctors before getting the right diagnosis. That to me, is shocking and alarming and saddening," Donnally said.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates Lyme Disease affects 300,000 Americans every year.

Donnally hopes his ride will not only raise awareness about Lyme Disease, but also funds to improve how healthcare professionals detect it.

"We want to raise $50,000 to be used for research to find a better diagnostic test," Donnally said.

On Saturday, Donnally said nearly $30,000 had already been raised.