TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - A photo of Michael Hoogsteden with the love of his life and wife, Wendy, captures the shadows of the two on their typical bike rides. But soon, he will go on the ride of his life – with his wife in spirit.
In October 2018, Wendy succumbed to complications from Crohn’s disease and colitis within a short period of time, Michael explained.
"It was always Wendy and I's dream to travel the country together – from coast-to-coast -- so we will have our cross-country journey together,” he told FOX 13. “The day she passed away, I was enraged that this disease took the love of my life."
“Then, I decided to make a difference in the lives of people who are still suffering from that disease," he added.
Soon, he will ride cross-country to bring attention to the disease through the Chrohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Ever since he can remember, Michael loved riding his bike. He loved it so much that in his teenage years he rode for a number of causes to raise money and awareness.
“I will feel her love and support especially on the tough days…supporting me over those high rocky mountain passes and through the desert hot days, through the rain and long days on the cycle," Michael said.
He has ridden his bicycle from one Florida coast to the other, but never from one side of the United States to the other side.
"It’s something to look forward to and it’s something to put into the bucket list, if you will,” he said. “It's going to be an amazing adventure and it’s going to provide amazing opportunities to spread a wonderful message."
Michael said Wendy’s body was donated for science, but her mortal remains are now ashes. As he makes his way across the country, he said he will spread those ashes across ever state he rides through.
His trip will be about 40 days long, and it begins in September.
LINK: To following his fundraising and progress, head over to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America website.