Paul Golub’s 30th anniversary working for Walmart in Athens, GA, was just around the corner, when his upper management approached him and asked what he would like to do to celebrate the occasion. After spending some time thinking about it, he remembered something that his brother Larry had suggested about 5 years back — that they should ride their bikes coast to coast someday.
“Sometimes when you take out 'impossible', you can do things that you thought weren’t possible," said Paul.
Paul’s nephew and Larry’s son, Maxx, has been living with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) for 13 years. When Paul approached his family and his management team at Walmart about his idea to ride coast-to-coast to raise awareness and fundraise for Prader-Willi syndrome research in honor of Maxx, he found support for his 5-week adventure — and things moved pretty quickly from there.
“I have a real passion for riding a bicycle," said Paul. "But actually, I had never ridden more than a couple hundred miles in two days, before I did this!"
Friendly Faces Become Supporters
On Wednesday, April 24th, 2019, Paul started his ride and continued the 2,272 miles across the U.S. with the help of his family. Along the way he handed out informational cards about PWS and how people could donate to support PWS research. He met friendly faces all across the U.S. who supported him. His sister-in-law Gretchen Golub helped manage his Team FPWR fundraising website and update on social media, while Maxx’s Uncle Bob also fundraised for the cause and rode a portion of the trip.
“It was mentally hard. The long stretches by yourself – but I always had somebody up ahead of me to look forward to seeing," said Paul.
Larry, Bob, Bill and Judy (Paul and Maxx’s relatives), helped fulfill the roll as SAG driver during portions of his adventure, and sometimes riding alongside him on their own bikes.
“It took a lot of people – not just me. All I had to do was ride a bicycle," he said.
Support from a Family of Adventurers
The whole family seems to have a sense of adventure – “thrill seekers," Paul says. Paul’s brother Larry (Maxx’s dad) has run marathons and triathlons and has influenced Maxx and his love for thrill and adventure. “Maxx lives for adventure,” said Paul. “He’s an adrenaline junkie; he loves to go zip-lining and doesn’t shy away from challenges.”
When Paul arrived at the end of his trip at Tybee Island on the Atlantic Coast, he was greeted and surprised by his family, including his mother, Mary Ann; his brother, Larry, and sister-in-law, Gretchen; their son, Maxx; and his cousin Judy and brother Bill. They finished their celebration by throwing Paul’s bike into the ocean (fishing it back out later) and having dinner together.
"Maxx was very excited. He celebrated me like I had just won the World Series!"
Uncle Paul, Uncle Bob, and the entire family collectively fundraised $10,000 for PWS research.
We at FPWR thank Paul for showing us that the impossible is possible, and for honoring Maxx and supporting the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research on this big adventure!