BELMONT COUNTY, OHIO (WTRF) – A Pennsylvania native set out on a 3,500 mile bike tour from Sea Side, Oregon this June to raise awareness and funds for Polycystic Kidney Disease — a rare genetic disease with no cure that causes cysts to grow in size and quantity on the kidneys.

Will Kleemeier was diagnosed with PKD in 2004 right after his mother got her formal diagnosis AND later that same year, his son was diagnosed with the disease.

Unfortunately, Kleemeiers’ tour was delayed over the summer after crashing his bike and breaking his elbow.
After seven weeks, he got back on the road in Chicago on September 25 and passed through St. Clairsville Friday.

“As I had been sharing my story I had found that a lot of people have had actually never heard of the disease. And if you really look at me, you can’t tell that I have a disease where my kidneys are in decline. So I wanted to raise awareness. And then it’s also a fundraiser. And the fundraiser is supporting the PKD Foundation, which is the only foundation in the U.S. which is soley dedicated to finding a cure for the disease.”

WILL KLEEMEIER, Biker diagnosed with PKT

With time, the disease causes the kidneys to fail, meaning that a person with the disease will eventually have to go on dialysis or get a transplant.

A class at Bellaire Middle School has been following Kleemeiers’ story and prepared a sweet surprise for the bicyclist as he passed through the Ohio Valley — Motivation Cards!

“I told the kids, I said if we make these cards…maybe a morning…when he’s dragging a bit and he gets in his van and sees a couple cards maybe it will give him a little boost or whatever. And the kids have fell in love with it. We found his Facebook and his website and we’ve been tracking the last couple of days.”

Kevin Schmidli, 6th Grade Teacher at Bellaire Middle School

Kleemeier is pedaling out of St. Clairsville Friday night and hopes to be in Pittsburgh by Saturday– weather permitting. His goal is to finish his bike tour on Oct. 8 in Ocean City, New Jersey.

If you’re interested in Kleemeiers journey or would like to make a donation, you can visit his website. All donations go directly to the PKD FOUNDATION.