Tariq Gangari to Cycle from Boston to Miami to Raise Awareness of Ankylosing Spondylitis and The Spondylitis Association of America

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On August 31st, 2012, London native, Tariq Gangari will begin the 2,200 mile bike ride from Boston to Miami to raise awareness of this crippling form of spinal arthritis

From the age of 14, Tariq Gangari suffered from excruciating pain every minute of every day. For the next 8 years, it was a struggle to even put on his socks in the morning. And the doctors had no idea what was wrong with him.

The once active teenager found it extremely difficult to come to terms with the fact that he could no longer do the things that normal teenagers do, like make that 40 yard diving catch, or steal that base or make that sudden burst of pace over 20 yards. His body simply would not allow it anymore.

Tariq decided to fight. He joined a local gym and a baseball team. He'd go to the gym every other day and head to the diamond every Sunday for training. He learned that his physical capabilities weren't lost, but that they were just buried under a few layers of pain.
For 8 years, he struggled each day to do the things that others take for granted. At age 22 he finally received the definitive diagnosis -- ankylosing spondylitis, a form of spinal arthritis that strikes young people and for which there is no cure.

"Since the day I got the news my life has changed completely. At 25, I'm now in the best shape of my life and have an ever growing appreciation for my health," says Tariq.

"An 8 year delay in diagnosis is typical for this disease. And yet, doctors know that the worst damage occurs in the first 10 years. For this reason it is critical that we raise awareness in order to promote earlier diagnosis."

Beginning on August 31st, 2012, Tariq will be cycling solo from Boston to Miami to raise awareness of Ankylosing Spondylitis. For more information on his journey, go to his website at http://www.iamONE.org.uk.

Tariq is grateful for the things he can do and is determined to make the journey easier for others who have yet to be diagnosed.

About Ankylosing Spondylitis
Spondylitis is the term used to refer to a group of chronic, inflammatory diseases that generally strike young people between the ages of 15 and 35. Typically, spondylitis causes pain and stiffness and, in the most severe cases, can result in a total fusion of the spine and/or neck, leading to disability. Although spondylitis primarily affects the spine, it is not uncommon for the disease to impact the joints of the shoulders, hips, knees and feet, as well as cause inflammation of the eye. More rarely, because AS is a systemic (whole body) condition, other organs such as the heart and lungs can also become involved.

About the Spondylitis Association of America    
The Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) is the only nonprofit organization in the US dedicating all of its resources to improving the lives of people with ankylosing spondylitis and related diseases. Established in 1983, SAA is committed to increasing awareness of spondylitis, providing information and support to patients and their families, and funding the medical research that will someday lead to a cure for the disease.

SAA produces the most comprehensive library of spondylitis resources available in the US -- including books, DVDs, CDs, brochures and other publications; a 1,700-page interactive website, http://www.spondylitis.org; a quarterly, advertising-free news magazine, and a network of nationwide Educational Support Groups to educate and support people living with this chronic illness.

At the forefront of every major milestone achieved in spondylitis education, research and advocacy for almost 30 years, you will find the Spondylitis Association of America.

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Robin Kindrick
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