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A long ride for a cause

Cyclist on cross-country journey to raise awareness of TBI makes stop in Marshall

William Galloway says he’s seen and been through a lot over the past few years, and all from a recumbent tricycle.

“It’s a life I never thought I’d be living,” Galloway said. But although it could be physically tough, he couldn’t give up. “I’m on a mission.”

For the past three-and-a-half years, Galloway has been criss-crossing the U.S. on his bike. He’s currently on his ninth trip across the continent. During a stop in Marshall on Monday, the New Jersey man said he hopes to raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries, and the issues that people recovering from TBI face.

“I’ve always been a bicycle nut, ever since I was a kid,” Galloway said. But several years ago he was hit by a drunk driver and hospitalized with a serious head injury. Recovery was hard, and Galloway said he was frustrated with being in assisted living and group homes, and didn’t like the medications he was prescribed. Galloway said he has seizures, and had problems with memory and communicating after his injury. He had a hard time finding an employer who understood his condition.

When he started his cycling journey, Galloway was headed for a clinic in California where he hoped he could get a different kind of treatment.

“I started trekking towards that clinic,” he said. But he’s stayed on the road since then, towing his gear in a trailer. Galloway said he’s currently on his third bike. By now, he’s been to every U.S. state except Alaska and Hawaii, he said.

“I just can’t give up. Shelters are not really my cup of tea,” Galloway said.

Galloway said he’s faced plenty of good and bad out on the road. He talked about times he’s faced bitterly cold weather and hypothermia, or been run off the road by other vehicles. But he’s also met people who have helped him out, or donated money or time to keep his bike in working order.

“I met a lot of great people. I wouldn’t have made it this far without them,” Galloway said. Last week in Blue Earth County, he was run off the road, but a deputy from the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office picked him up and took him to lunch.

Galloway said he had hoped to maybe find work in Minnesota, as many businesses say they’re hiring. However, he said it’s hard to get a job or get assistance without an address. The kinds of jobs he does pick up as he travels tend to be things like landscaping, he said.

Galloway said he’s heading toward South Dakota, where he might make a stop in the small town of Hitchcock. But his overarching goal is to help get the word out about how brain injuries affect people. He said he hopes people can learn “Not to treat everyone the same.” Every brain injury and disability is different, he said.

“I just want the story to get out,” he said.

Galloway documents his travels on Facebook, and he said he has fundraiser information for people who might want to help keep him moving. Signs attached to his bike trailer said people could email him at fundraiser3000@gmail.com, or make online donations through Paypal at Paypal.me/williamg799.

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