Aug. 21, 2018

4,200 Miles, 25 days, 10 states, 1 mission: End Lupus

In 2016, Keith’s brother-in-law Vincent passed away unexpectedly due to vasculitis caused by lupus. Vince had lived with lupus for more than 20 years and was diagnosed as a teenager. It had inhibited many parts of his life, and Keith wanted to do something to honor him and to make an impact in the fight against lupus.

Keith used to be an avid cyclist and saw Inspired To Ride, a documentary on the Trans Am Bike Race, a 4,200-mile cross-country cycling event. After seeing the documentary, he knew this would be the perfect way to bring awareness to lupus while raising money for lupus research so that other families would not have to go through the pain that they faced following Vince’s passing. Shortly after deciding to embark on the Trans Am Bike Race, Keith connected with Make Your Mark™ to make his fundraiser a reality.

(Below: Keith Rahn with his brother-in-law's parents)

Keith Rahn with parents

The solo, self-supported bike race spanned 10 states – starting in Astoria, Oregon, through the Rockies, over the Appalachians and finishing in Yorktown Virginia. Shortly after starting the race, Keith fell ill and after a particularly trying day on the trail where he was faced with the beating sun and heavy winds, he questioned whether he could finish the race.

“I got a hotel and needed to recover, and while I was there somebody I follow from an athlete’s with lupus group commented on my post saying that all the things I was dealing with – sun exposure, fatigue, inflammation – were everyday occurrences for people living with lupus,” said Keith.

After realizing this, Keith knew that he had to finish the race – for his brother-in-law and for everybody living with lupus every single day.

(Below: Keith Rahn's wife and daughter)

Rahn's wife and daughter

Keith finished the race in 25 days, raising thousands of dollars and finishing 28th out of 116 participants.

“I pedaled; I did the cycling, but an undertaking like this or any fundraiser is a team effort,” said Keith. “Whether you do a one-off fundraiser or plan a big event, your family and friends are there to support you. You’re a team.” 

Interested in starting a fundraiser to help the fight against lupus? Check out our Make Your Mark platform and we’ll help make your fundraiser a reality.