Matthew Majcher ’10, a multimedia design and political science double major, and his longtime friend Chris Henry are gearing up for Trek230, a 230-day expedition around the world to raise awareness about fibromyalgia. Henry was diagnosed in 2003 with the chronic syndrome that is characterized by widespread pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points in the body.
“Our goal for Trek230 is several-fold,” Henry said. “First and foremost, we want to show fibromyalgia sufferers that the disease doesn’t have to control their lives or inhibit their dreams. We also hope to raise community awareness about what life with fibromyalgia is truly like.”
The trip, scheduled to begin in October, will take them through many cities in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Majcher and Henry plan to develop relationships with domestic and international organizations that deal with fibromyalgia and exchange experiences, methods of coping and hope for a better future.
A major component of Trek230 is their plan to engage followers on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Youtube and iTunes with status updates, videos, pictures and blog entries that include travel details and facts and questions about fibromyalgia. Followers will be able to ask questions and make suggestions to the team while they are on the road.
“We are Generation Y. We all have Facebook accounts. We Twitter endlessly,” Majcher said. “We want to explore the world by immersing ourselves into different cultures and intense adventures while utilizing the instant communication technologies of our generation. This is a classical escapist trip around the world which has collided with the 21st century.”
Henry said fibromyalgia receives little funding from the federal government or private research organizations compared to other medical conditions. For this reason, in addition to the total cost of the trip, Trek230 hopes to raise an additional $100,000 for fibromyalgia research.
“Some people who have fibromyalgia think they have to stop. I want to show them you can do more than you ever dreamed of doing,” Henry said.
Photo: Matthew Majcher (left) and Chris Henry (right)
Posted June 14, 2010