Dave Nazaroff is cycling 900 miles from New York to Atlanta to raise money for a boy he has never met. But Tripp Halstead isn't just any boy.
The 2-year-old suffered extensive brain damage when a tree branch fell on his head at daycare in Winder, Ga., on Oct. 29, CNN reports. He spent months in a hospital fighting his way back and is finally home. He can't talk and must use a wheelchair, but he shows glimmers of recovery.
Tripp's mother, Stacy, chronicles his path on a Facebook page now followed by hundreds of thousands of people.
That's where Nazaroff comes in.
His wife, Kaete, was mesmerized by the hope and despair expressed by Tripp's mom. The Nazaroffs, too, have a towheaded 2-year-old, making Stacy's daily accounts hit even closer to home, she explained.
"Some make you laugh, some make you cry," Kaete wrote on her Ride To Give fundraising page. "But all of them remind us how precious and fragile life truly is...and that it can all change in an instant. I wanted to help."
Then it hit her: What if her husband, a triathlete, could ride his bicycle to help? After all, as a seven-time Ironman finisher, he is no stranger to long-distance rides.
They called the Halsteads out of the blue, stunned them with their proposal, and went to work charting a route and building a funding site, according to the Journal News. Donations have exceeded $105,000, CNN reported, enough so Stacy can stay at home with Tripp.
"We can't wait until we finally get to meet them," Stacy said of the Nazaroffs on Facebook.
Nazaroff, the founder of Toga Multisport Club and a bike shop owner, leaves June 26 from his Nyack, N.Y., hometown and plans to arrive in Atlanta five or six days later. The goal is to hand the Halsteads a hefty check so Tripp's mom can stay at his side throughout his recovery, Kaete wrote at the donation site.
“It’s a small part,” Dave Nazaroff told Online Athens. “But it’s just what we can do.”