Siblings bike 3,500 miles to raise awareness about diabetes

Posted at 4:59 AM, Aug 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-15 12:01:48-04

It's the trip that Justin Mann and his sister Ashtyn will never forget: that one time they biked from Oregon to South Carolina.

It was Ashtyn who had the idea. The two would peddle 3,500 miles in 64 days. They passed through 12 states and three mountain ranges, which was certainly a challenge. But even in Kansas, it was tough. Justin says the wind was intense and made riding even harder.

The two met a lot of strangers along the route and that's where they were able to tell them why they were biking so far: to raise money and awareness for diabetes.

Justin was diagnosed with Type One when he was six.

"It was a pretty terrifying moment in my life," said Justin. "I remember the doctor came out and he said you have diabetes. I was just like -- the first thing I heard was, die."

Justin had to adjust to wearing an insulin pump 24-7 and now also wears a sensor on his arm to monitor his blood sugar. He turned to sports as an outlet and played football for UCLA and Washington State. Oddly biking wasn't anything he had done until a couple weeks before this cross-country ride. Sure the journey was long but the payoff is still going.

"It's already cool enough for someone who is not diabetic to make it across the country," says Justin. "What if a diabetic? A lot of people think shouldn't or couldn't do this kind of thing."

The money raised will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.