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‘You can do anything you put your mind to.’ Local teen with health conditions is biking across America with dad

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SALEM — A local father and son recently began their journey of tandem cycling across America with the goal of inspiring others along the way.

Caleb Schroeder, a sophomore at Sugar-Salem High School, was born with hydrocephalus, a condition where there’s a buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain. He also has high-functioning autism known as Asperger’s and cerebral palsy, which affects the right side of his body.

“The doctor said if we wouldn’t have come in, within about a month, he would’ve died,” Kirk Schroeder, Caleb’s dad and a construction management teacher at BYU-Idaho, explained about Caleb’s initial diagnosis. “They think there was a blockage in the ventricle that happened either right before birth or during birth.”

Caleb’s undergone multiple surgeries, including brain and leg surgeries, but he’s never let his health conditions stop him from accomplishing his goals. In 2018, Caleb came across a fitness app that posted a challenge encouraging its users to run 1,000 miles, and he wanted to participate in it. Kirk said when Caleb started running, he’d constantly trip and fall, but he improved over time and eventually reached 1,000 miles. To date, he’s run eight half-marathons.

Then, in 2019, Caleb decided to get into cycling. He biked 5,000 miles between tandem rides with his dad and on a road bike that stayed in place but was synced to a virtual app. In 2020, he planned to swim 500,000 yards (almost 300 miles), but this wasn’t able to happen because of COVID-19. Instead, he logged 4,500 miles of cycling followed by 10,000 miles in 2021.

“(My favorite part) is I’m able to be with my dad and ride together at the same speed,” Caleb said about tandem cycling. “We did a trip in three days (330 miles) last year, and I was chatting with Dad and I was like, ‘Hey, how about we ride across America?'”

Kirk and Caleb decided to give it a shot. The duo started their ride, known as Sea2SSI, on July 21 near Seattle, Washington, and plan to end at St. Simons Island in Georgia on Aug. 27. They’ll cover a distance of 3,400 miles on their tandem bike and will ride about 100 miles a day Monday through Saturday.

The two of them will pass out cards to those they meet as they make their way across the country. People will be able to scan the QR codes on the card, learn more about Caleb’s story and hopefully be influenced to achieve their own goals and help others.

“We need more goodness in this world and people to get out of themselves and reach to help other people because everybody is struggling with something,” Kirk mentioned. “The negative always gets attention because it yells the loudest. There are so many more good people in this world and country that need to stand up and do something.”

Back of Caleb Quest card
The back of the cards Kirk and Caleb will be handing out to people while they make their way across the country. | Courtesy Kirk Schroeder

Caleb wants people to know that no matter what challenges a person is facing, there are always ways to accomplish what might seem impossible.

“If you put your mind to it and don’t quit, (you) can do anything (you) put your mind to,” Caleb said.

On the morning of July 30, Caleb and Kirk will head from Mud Lake towards Rexburg on Idaho Highway 33 on their way to Salem. Community members are invited to ride alongside them. For more information and to follow Caleb, click here.

A GoFundMe has been set up to raise money and give back to the organizations that helped make it possible for Caleb to ride across America including Shriners Hospitals for Children and Autism Speaks. To donate, click here.

Kirk and Caleb Schroeder tandem cycling
Kirk and Caleb while tandem cycling. | Courtesy Kirk Schroeder
Kirk and Caleb Schroeder in their Calebs Quest gear
Kirk and Caleb in their Caleb’s Quest gear. | Courtesy Kirk Schroeder
Caleb Schroeder biking
Caleb practicing for his tandem cycling trip across America. | Courtesy Kirk Schroeder

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.

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