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Local bicyclist wins national award for the Scleroderma Foundation

By Staff | Aug 27, 2013

Wade Dauberman, a resident from the Muncy area, was awarded the Individual Fundraiser of the Year by the Scleroderma Foundation. He was recognized for his 2012 attempt to ride his bicycle across the U.S. to bring awareness to scleroderma, a rare disease that took his father’s life several years ago.

TURBOTVILLE – This month Wade Dauberman, a resident in the Muncy area, got to travel to Atlanta to receive a national award for his fundraising efforts last summer for the Scleroderma Foundation.

Dauberman received the ‘Individual Fundraiser of the Year Award’ for cycling 4,700 miles in honor of his father who died of Scleroderma, a rare disease that attacks the autoimmune system. The award was given as a salute during a banquet at its 15th Annual National Patient Education Conference which acknowledges individual’s words or actions that offer hope and inspiration.

On May 6, 2012 Dauberman left from the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), the day after graduation, and embarked on a solo bike ride, almost 5 thousand miles, that brought him back to the community hall in Turbotville, PA where friends and family held a welcoming reception and fundraiser for his efforts. It was a remarkable journey for him that took almost the entire month of May last year. But he was able to raise over $9,000 dollars, all in the honor of his father.

Despite encountering a few challenges along the way, he also got to see some major attractions like Mount Rushmore, Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Yellowstone National Park. “The most exciting part were the strangers I met along the way,” he said. “The most challenging part was dealing with setbacks like weather and bike issues,” Dauberman replied. “However, I was able to work through them and keep trucking along.”

Wade’s father, James Dauberman, passed away from scleroderma in September 2010 due to complications from the disease which attacks a person’s skin and internal organs. The cause and cure still remain unknown. In the case of Wade’s father, doctors didn’t know he had scleroderma until it was too late. He ended up on dialysis after several bouts of surgeries. Finally, his body acquired an infection that his body and “frail immune system couldn’t fight it off any longer.”

“If you look at my dad’s case, he wasn’t diagnosed properly,” Dauberman said. “I want to help others get a diagnosis faster and have a better chance. You can’t beat scleroderma entirely, but you can break it down so it doesn’t affect your life as much.”

Dauberman, who graduated from Turbotville High School in 2008, is a cycling instructor and personal trainer at FIT and rides every morning. His goal is to earn a PhD in biological sciences. “I’m currently in the second year of the program,” said the 22 year-old. “After doing a postdoc or two, my plan is to become a professor and run my own lab training graduate students.” He hopes to do work in astrobiology, however his work is focused on neurobiochemistry and Alzheimer’s disease.