Biking to benefit hu-Mann-kind


Courtesy of Ashtyn Mann

Justin Mann (left) and Ashtyn Mann hold their JDRF-sponsored jerseys for their upcoming cross-county bike trip.

Jack Belcher, News Reporter

CWU grad Ashtyn Mann and her older brother Justin Mann are raising money for  a bike ride across the country from California to South Carolina.

Justin Mann was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes when he was 6 years old. He has been living with the metabolic disease for 20 years.

“Since that time, I have yet to let this disease hold me back. Now when people ask about it, I refer to it as LIVEabetes,” Justin wrote on the pairs’  Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)-sponsored website for their trip.

The Manns are partnered with the JDRF and will be fundraising money for the foundation during their trip.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘My life is over,’” Justin said. “I kept thinking, ‘Why me?’ No more candy, no more soda pop, having to give shots, constant finger pokes. Basically, I thought I was a subhuman. I can’t even tell you how wrong I turned out to be.”

In an interview, Ashtyn Mann explained why she chose to ride across the country with her brother.

“I always wanted to [bike ride across the country]. My [younger] sister’s two friends did it a couple years ago, while I played volleyball, so I didn’t really have any free time,” Ashytn said. “After I got done with volleyball last year, I started cycling a lot and I just kind of thought of the idea that I could actually do this. I asked my brother if he wanted to do it and he said yes.”

South Carolina stood out to them, because their aunt lives there and they have never been before.

“We are actually kinda going diagonal, so we are starting in Seaside, Oregon, and then we are ending in Myrtle Beach,” Ashtyn said. “We will be going along the border of Oregon and Washington, then through Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and then all the way to Virginia Beach. Then from Virginia Beach we are going down to Myrtle Beach.”

The official route they are taking is known as the Trans-America Trail.

They planned the trip to take 60 days, starting May 1 and ending on the Fourth of July. This is an average of 65 miles each day, although Ashtyn said that there will be a few 100-mile days if they want to make it on time.

“The nice part is that we are not trying to plan a lot, we’re just kinda going day by day,” Ashtyn said.

There are two separate fundraisers, a GoFundMe account for supplies, bikes, and food. During the trip, the funds will go to the JDRF fundraiser. The goal they need for their supplies is $10,000, although right now they are only around $6,500 and their JDRF fundraiser during the trip has a goal of $30,000.

The pair will hopes to work with a documentary crew called “CLICKON Media”, a digital media company who focuses on sports. If the Manns can reach their funding goal, the crew will meet up with the Manns in certain cities and document their trip.