In 2009, Luke Mysse started cycling to lose weight and improve his health after doctors told him he needed more activity in his routine. “[Initially] I was miserable because I was so out of shape,” Mysse said, “but there was something about the rhythm of it and the alone time that just kept pulling me back.”
Fast forward six months, and the father of two had already completed his first “century ride” (100 miles) and was officially hooked on cycling. When he saw his friends developing RUTF (ready-to-use therapeutic food) for children facing sever acute malnutrition (SAM), Mysse knew that he could use his lifestyle change to also change the lives of children all over the world.
RUTF is a nutritionally-fortified peanut butter packet to help children suffering from SAM get back to a healthy weight. Mysse said he was inspired to promote the cause when he saw his five-year-old son try one of the RUTF packets for the first time.
“It kind of haunted me, because I realized he’ll never deal with this issue,” he said. “He was born in the U.S., and severe acute malnutrition is not something we deal with here. We have hunger, but this is way beyond hunger — this is literally a child starving to death.”
So early last year, Mysse co-founded a non-profit called STOP SAM to promote awareness and fund RUTF so the lifesaving packets can be shipped all over the world to children in need. To raise awareness for the campaign, Mysse is 4,500 miles across America, talking to cyclists and interested pedestrians alike about the SAM and the benefits of RUTF in a solo effort he calls “Cycle Cause”.
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On June 20 he will start out in San Diego and ride for 100 days until he reaches New York on September 19, which happens to be his 38th birthday. All proceeds from Cycle Cause go directly to purchasing the nutritional supplements and distributing them to children in need.
[Did You Know: According to a 2005 study in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition, 90 percent of children eating RUTF are able to reach a healthy weight.]