12 million people live right here in the United States with Hepatitis B.
My name is John Ellis and I am one of those people.
Two weeks before my 16th birthday in June 2006, I was diagnosed with hepatitis B. Initially, I was incredibly scared and confused simply because I didn't know what having hepatitis B would mean for me. I had even received the vaccine just years before in middle school, and I didn't think that something like this could happen to me.
To be honest, I knew nothing about hepatitis B. However, contracting hepatitis B forced me to come to grips with many difficulties that most teens never have to imagine. But I am not alone.
In the search for a way to improve my health, I came across a $50 dollar bike at a local cycling store. I started riding my bike everywhere-to school, to work, and more. Inspired by the love of riding, I had an epiphany: Inspired by the love of riding, I discovered "touring", which is essentially backpacking on a bicycle.
I knew right away that I wanted to ride for a cause. People need to become more aware about hepatitis B and how it affects us.
I contacted the Hepatitis B Foundation and after meeting them personally, I decided on a cycling tour from my hometown of Pensacola, FL to Philadelphia, PA , the location of the Hepatitis B Foundation.
Often times, when people get sick, the hardest part is believing that things are going to get better. With this 1100-plus mile cycling trip, I hope to raise awareness about hepatitis B. But more personally, I hope to prove to myself that I can overcome the obstacles placed in my path.
So even though there is still no complete cure for hepatitis B, if I believe in my heart that things will work out for the best, then who's to say I'm not cured?
With all of your help, we can together help raise awareness to help find a cure for hepatitis B!
Read an interview with John.