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Thursday, July 18, 2024
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500 miles in a wheelchair to meet Pope Francis

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Ruben and Jose travelled 500 miles in a wheelchair, including a boat ride and the occasional train to meet Pope Francis.

They made this 14-day journey to request prayer and advocacy for more than 70 million people in the world who suffer from a specific disease.

“We come to ask you to intercede with the governments of the world to provide more money for research because, well, it is cruel to be diagnosed with a disease like this and have no cure, no treatment and really be abandoned,” said Ruben.

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Ruben and Jose have muscular dystrophy, and although they are in wheelchairs, it hasn’t stopped them from breaking records. They completed the longest pilgrimage route in Spain and also rode over 350 miles around Basque Country in the north. Traveling to Rome is their fifth project.

“I think we are being an inspiration for many people who know us and see us, and for others who do not have any disability and who put us as an example of excellence and attitude towards life,” said Jose.

But they do not travel this road alone. They go with Antonio, who also has a disability in his legs. He often coordinates the logistics of the trips, a necessary role considering that in many places, adaptability is still the exception rather than the rule.

“What I do is that in the van, I carry all their luggage, all the things they need. I carry battery chargers and spare batteries,” explained Antonio.

“I go ahead to look for a place to sleep, although we always have it in sight. We call on the phone and everything, but we run into a lot of difficulties.”

Despite any roadblocks they may face, they continue to travel. Since 2019, they have toured nearly all of Spain. And now, they have even branched into international areas.

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