Blacksburg parents raise more than $20,000 for preeclampsia research by biking cross county

Son born prematurely due to complications of preeclampsia

By Irisha Jones - Reporter

BLACKSBURG, Va.- - A Blacksburg couple is back home after making a cross-country trip by bicycle in less than two months.

It's in honor of their son, Azzi, who died three days after he was born due to complications of preeclampsia. 

10 News first reported their story in March and checked back in with the couple Wednesday about their ride. Azzi's Ride for Research spanned thousands of miles across several states.

"There were days I didn't know if I was going to keep going. The first three days were straight uphill," said Carlie Linde.

Linde and her husband rode on a tandem bike from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida.

"I did ride a week by myself on the tandem, and that's hard," she said. 

Their reason to keep going is their son, Azzi. He was born early due to complications of preeclampsia. 

"I got to talk about him more, and I wasn't used to talking about him in a positive light," Linde said. 

The mission of the ride was to raise money for preeclampsia research and raise awareness about the condition.

"Most people I talked to never heard of the word, or they've heard of the old name of toxemia. But all of them know pregnant people. They said, 'Oh, I'm going to go tell them,' which is what I wanted," said Linde.

The couple documented the trip with pictures and videos. Linde met others with a similar experience on the journey. 

"We ran into someone the fourth day who had it. I kept thinking of her the whole time," said Linde.

A car seat on the back symbolizes Azzi being part of the trip in spirit.

"I fell a lot. So I think he would laugh but I think he would be happy. I think he would wish he would have been there," she said. 

Pedaling almost 3,000 miles, the couple raised more than $20,665 to fund a yearlong research grant. Their GoFundMe account will stay up indefinitely. The money will continue to go toward research.

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