ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A First Coast man is leading the charge to raise money for a little girl recovering from a heart transplant, using his bike to help ease the parents' financial burden.
Joe Mehm always has been a cycling enthusiast, but he had never done a ride like this: a daunting ride from St. Augustine to Key West to raise money for the owners of Panama Hatties in St. Augustine, the Kivistos, and their baby Grace.
"Their baby had a heart defect, and was needing a heart transplant," Mehm said.
With the life-saving transplant complete, the medical bills piled in.
"Just decided I wanted to do something myself, so I put together this Gears for Grace and put together a little website so we can take in some pledges," Mehm said.
Taking pledges from businesses, family and friends, Mehm left from Panama Hatties heading for Key West.
The 500-mile ride took six days. "I think I know about every pot hole and rock along the way," he joked.
The pledges raised several thousand dollars for Grace's medical bills. But Mehm said, he doesn't feel like a hero.
"They've always been there for me," Mehm said. "Helped me out so this is my little thing to help them out."
First Coast News