MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Institute of Technology graduate student Wade Dauberman was presented with the Scleroderma Foundation Individual Fundraiser of the Year Award during the 15th Annual National Patient Education Conference held recently in Atlanta, Ga. Dauberman, who received his bachelor's degree in astrobiology from Florida Tech in 2012, is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in Florida Tech's biological sciences program. He is studying neurobiochemistry with a focus on Alzheimer's disease.
Originally from Muncy, Penn., Dauberman was recognized by the foundation for his 2012 fundraising effort, called Wade on Wheels, a 1,400-mile bike trip from Florida Tech to his hometown in central Pennsylvania. It brought in $9,000 in donations and raised awareness about scleroderma, a rare chronic connective tissue disease that took his father's life.
His father James was his motivation for planning and executing the journey. He completed the trip in 20 days averaging about 70 miles a day with his longest ride at 112 miles in one day.
“I was an avid biker and also dreamed of doing a cross country trip so this was the perfect way to raise money to help increase research so that others may have a more positive outcome than my father,” said Dauberman. He added, “I was very surprised when the foundation told me I received this award, however, I am very honored. I did the entire trip alone and didn't have too much contact with the foundation so to be there and see all the people I affected in front of me was a very emotional feeling.”
Dauberman cites that the most positive part of his journey was to see all the support and help he received. “To receive the outpouring from friends, family and strangers was very heartwarming,” he said.
Dauberman said he is inspired to complete a second trip, but his current studies take priority. After graduating, he hopes to become a professor and run a laboratory where he will train new graduate students using an astrobiological approach to applying the techniques he's learning now. For information, visit: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/WOW.
PHOTO: Scleroderma Foundation’s CEO Robert J. Riggs awards plaque to Wade Dauberman.