MANSFIELD - A trio of teenage pals united by concern for victims of Duchenne muscular dystrophy are bicycling 500 miles to raise money for research into the debilitating disease.
Emily Quitzau and Ashley Kelliher, both incoming freshmen at Mansfield High School, and their friend Jack Stubbs of Canton are riding in a bid to raise awareness - and thousands of dollars, they hope - for the cause.
The trip is scheduled to begin Friday in Sutton and last about a week.
The three 14-year-olds have a special interest in Duchenne because Emily's triplet brother, Calvin, was diagnosed with the disability as a young child. Emily also has a second brother, Jake.
Duchenne is one of nine types of muscular dystrophy. It's a genetic disorder that mainly afflicts boys, is apparent beginning in early childhood, and causes progressive muscle degeneration and weakness, eventually spreading to the lungs and heart.
The cycling trio, accompanied by a tour leader and Emily's father, Curtis, and Ashley's dad, Dave, plan to peddle through Vermont and New York and back again.
It's all part of the Jettride 2016, a cross-country bicycle trek to benefit the Jett Foundation, which supports Duchenne research.
The teens have already pulled in a combined $15,000 in donations, according to Emily's mother, Cindy.
All three youngsters take part in sports, ranging from soccer to triathlons, and say they're not intimidated by the challenge of going 500 miles.
"Biking isn't my favorite, but I'm excited about it," Emily said.
Jack and Ashley said they're also looking forward to the adventure.
The teens and their adult escorts will be staying in churches and with other hosts along the way. A supply truck will accompany them.
To learn more about Jettride 2016 or donate, visit firstgiving.com/11421/jettride-2016.