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Maryland native rides across the country with co-pilot pooch to honor his mother who passed away from lung disease

Breathe for Mom: A Mother's Day Ride

(May 7, 2018) - CROFTON, MD

Will Tucker has never ridden a motorcycle before, but he's now making a long ride on one during a cross country trip from Minneapolis to Crofton, Maryland – with his dog McKenzie – to honor his mother Julie Gray/Tucker, who passed away at age 53 on March 14 of Acute Interstitial Pneumonitis (AIP). All proceeds from the ride are going towards research for interstitial lung diseases in hopes of preventing other people, friends, and families from having to go through this lung disease. Tucker has created a fundraising page on Facebook and proceeds will benefit the American Lung Association in Maryland's mission: to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Tucker's initial fundraising goal of $5,000 was hit in less than 24 hours, before he ever sat on the bike.

"Yes – it's true that I have never sat on a motorcycle prior to attempting to purchase one. Yes – It's true that I've been told this may be the dumbest thing I've ever attempted to do. But in honor of my relationship with my mom, I knew that I needed to make it back to Maryland with my best friend, adorable Chesapeake, and mom's granddogger, McKenzie, in the most defiant way I possibly could think of. Because that was our relationship – she'd always give me advice, and I'd never be able to take it and have to learn the hard way," said Will Tucker, whose journey is called, Breathe for Mom: A Mother's Day Ride.

Tucker lives in Minneapolis, but grew up in Crofton, Maryland, "When I made the snap decision to take my motorcycle permit test while at the DMV last week, I quickly shifted gears to try to find a bike suitable to take myself and McKenzie back home for Mother's Day; as it's the first Mother's Day my family and I will have to endure without my mom," said Tucker.

The signs and symptoms of AIP generally develop and progress rapidly. In the early stages of the condition, affected people may experience upper respiratory and/or viral-like symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and fever. This is followed by the rapid onset of respiratory failure and the need for mechanical ventilation in the majority of cases. The underlying cause of AIP is unknown. Most cases occur sporadically in people with no family history of the condition. There is, unfortunately, no proven treatment for AIP. Supportive care is generally recommended to address the signs and symptoms of the condition. Glucocorticoid therapy and other immunosuppressive therapies are often used; however, the benefits of these treatments remain unclear, according to the NIH, National Institutes of Health.

Media interested in interviewing Will Tucker while he's on his journey, please contact the American Lung Association in Maryland Communications Director Ewa Dworakowski at [email protected] or call 717-971-1123, or 717-503-3903 (cell).


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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