Bike Trail 24 miles (ride starts at 10:0am)
RideWithGPS link https://ridewithgps.com/routes/44806038
Strava link https://strava.app.link/AAYDt7xS8Db
Why we are riding:
My name is Frank DeJulius, I am the Owner of Fleet Feet here in Cincinnati. I have been friends with Mitch Graham, owner of BioWheels for over ten years. In fact, when my wife, Stacey and I moved to Cincinnati back in 2013, Mitch was one of the very first people to reach out to me and welcome me as a cyclist and local small business owner like him.
Over the years Mitch and I developed a friendship that stemmed from our passion for endurance sports and our love for our very similar specialty retail small businesses. In fact Mitch's service to the community through his business became a model that I strived to follow. Throughout time he and I served on local race committees together, co-sponsored community events, and supported local clubs and teams.
It been easy to work with Mitch because his heart was always in the right place. You know what you'd get when working with BioWheels and Mitch because he gives so much to the community - hard work, trustworthiness, and love, every time.
His work ethic in his store and in the community is hard to match and he is driven by serving the community. Mitch became a cycling buddy and a confidant over the years as we'd tell each other "retail war stories" and share in the trials of small business ownership.
Mitch is a great friend to this day and BioWheels is one of my favorite stores in all of Cincinnati. I know that like me, Mitch is a friend of so many and I am asking all of you today for help, because Mitch and his wife Kate and BioWheels need it. He has given SO MUCH to this community and now I am asking the community give back to him as he fights for his health.
Why do they need help? Please read below.
Mitch was diagnosed with Giant Cell Myocarditis in March of this year. It is an incredibly rare heart disease that very little data exists for and typically requires heart transplant for survival. He spent 6 weeks at University of Cincinnati Medical Center waiting for a heart transplant. During that time he rode an exercise bike to stay strong and pass the time. He was also put on immunosuppressive drugs which worked to put to the GCM into dormancy. He was released from the hospital and while still on the heart transplant list, it is paused for now.
In the middle of September, Mitch spiked a fever of 104 and was taken to UC ED. He quickly declined neurologically and was admitted to the CVICU. Infectious Disease doctors were shocked to finally diagnose him with West Nile Virus (also extremely rare) which in turn caused Viral Meningitis/Encephalopathy. He spent 33 days in the CVICU on a ventilator and has been transferred to Drake Rehabilitation Hospital where he will remain indefinitely.
He is still currently on the ventilator but more stable. He will need to relearn to walk, talk and regain all motor functions. There is no timeline for his recovery and there is great danger that the West Nile will reactivate the GCM and the heart transplant will be reinstated.
Mitch’s health battle has left him unable to work and will continue to do so for quite some time. He will have extremely high medical bills for the remainder of his life. That combined with a small business owners health insurance has created an insurmountable situation for Mitch and Kate to manage.