After beating a mild case of COVID-19, Paul Castain knew he wanted to help other people who have been affected by recent the global pandemic.
Partnering with the American Lung Association, the 26-year-old Huntington resident decided to re-create the Tour de France from his home in quarantine using an exercise bike. He’s calling it the Tour de Quarantine.
The Tour de France is a 2,200-mile ride that that takes place over the course of 23 days on bike. Every day, Castain would average about 96 miles (which is five to six hours of cycling) to reach his goal.
“My hope is to raise $1 for every mile that I ride over these next couple of weeks,” he originally posted on his Facebook fundraising page.
On April 18 he began biking from his living room just as he was nearing the end of his weeklong illness. “I wasn’t sure how I got it,” he said, adding that his whole family was struck with the Coronavirus. “But luckily everyone is doing better now.”
When the stay at home orders began, Castain wanted to keep up with his typical workouts, so he purchased the bike to stay healthy. When he and his family were affected, he knew he wanted to make a difference if he could.
After asking around, he chose to donate all his fundraising efforts to the American Lung Association’s $25 million COVID-19 Action Initiative that plans to end the virus and defend against future respiratory virus pandemics.
“I wanted to do something that was a sense of fulfillment while staying at home,” he said. “This is something I could do that can help other people.”
By using social media, Castain posts video updates on Instagram and Facebook showing his journey. His friends, family and followers donated to the cause. And after 20 days, he surpassed his $3,000 goal.
Although the Tour de Quarantine ends on May 10 for him, people can still donate to his fundraiser until May 17.
“This is something that hits close to home for us… we all know someone who’s been affected by COVID-19,” he said. “With the American Lung Association, it’s not only a fundraiser, but they are also researching it and trying to find a cure.”
Carla Sterling, executive director for the American Lung Association in metro New York, has taken notice and is grateful for all the fundraising efforts people are continuing while in isolation.
“We are so grateful to Paul and so many within our Lung Association community for their ongoing support,” she said. “We thank our participants and lung health community for working with us as committed partners in the effort to defeat COVID-19 and helping to fund vital lung health research that saves lives.”
She added that the pandemic has forced the organization to change their regular planning for the New York Fight for Air Climb and the New York Lung Force Walk. “But it has also strengthened our resolve to act as a community and defend the right and ability for everyone to breathe freely.”
“We can all make a difference,” Castain said.
Photo courtesy of Paul Castain