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Around The US (Virtually) In One Year

Meet Alan, he is bed bound, medically and physically fragile, and coolest person I have ever met. Alan has cerebral palsy and spina bifida and 99% of the time he is in his bed, unable to go anywhere or do anything (except  watch his favorite game shows and wrestling DVDs). The other 1% of the time he spends at the doctor’s office. Alan has been in and out of the hospital all of his life, with a total of 49 surgeries thus far, and 100% of that time he has a smile on his face. As I always tell him– he sure is a trooper.

Alan has completely changed my life. He has made me slow down, look around, and realize what is important in life. He has helped show me more laughter, love, and compassion than I ever thought was possible. He has welcomed me in as a part of his family.

When I first met Alan, I could not help but to feel sorry for him, seeing him cooped up in that bed all day. Especially with my current Wanderlust, I could not imagine staying in one place all the time. I was completely determined to talk his papa(his caretaker) into going on an outing to the park or to Alan’s favorite restaurant, Denny’s, for an afternoon. But after much explanation and picture proof, I have come to terms that it is too risky to take Alan anywhere. Being on a continuous feeding tube, having harsh skin breakdowns, and owning a wheelchair that does not fit Alan’s needs, makes traveling nearly impossible.

“But who said that you have to leave your bed to travel the world?”

Alan and I have started a project this year to facetime someone in all 50 States. This way, he will make it around the US in 1 year. Alan absolutely loves this. I have never seen someone so excited to meet new people, see new cities, and ask silly questions. Every day that I go and visit Alan, the first thing he says is “Who are we going to facetime today?”. And let me tell you, his memory is too good. After we facetime people, he is always asking me how they are, what they ate for dinner, and how their parents are doing. He remembers silly things they have said, pictures they have sent, and smiles that they gave. I am not sure if it is necessarily the scenery around that he loves, but the compassionate person on the other side of the screen taking interest in and showing love to Alan.

We currently have 31 states and need your help to finish this journey.  I leave Savannah July 15 and would love to cross each state off this list before then! If you or anyone you know lives in these states, please reach out to me! I promise this will only take about 5 minutes and it will make your day, if not your week. (Also, if you live in another state and still want to facetime, let me know. Alan loves to meet anyone and everyone)!

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Compassion, Laughter, Love. That’s all you need. ♥

Abby Rieker: Savannah, GA

UPDATE: Thank you for all of your support! Abby and Allen have just 7 states left: Oregon, Lousiana, Delaware, Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, and Vermont. We will be emailing anyone who leaves a comment about these states!

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Hey Abby! Congrats on an amazing job with helping Alan “travel” to all 50 states! I was excited to see the tweet about it today. 🙂

  2. Hi Abby,
    I am also a MVC Alum (St. Michaels, AZ 2001-02). My State is already completed, but I was wondering if he would enjoy getting a letter and if you have an address I can send it too. Feel free to email me.

  3. I would love to FaceTime and meet you and Alan!!! I’m going to be serving at the St. Michaels site next year!

  4. Hi Abby,
    I too am from CT and would love to meet Alan. Can you guys skype too? I don’t have an iphone, so don’t think I can facetime 😉 thanks for taking Alan on so many journeys! Sounds wonderful

  5. Shared on my wall, champ! Watching closely to see that you meet your goal! What an exciting adventure! ???

  6. A friend sent this to me and I’d love to take Alan (virtually) to the Oregon Coast! I live in a small town along the coast and can go out to the beach for the call to show him how beautiful it is here. I am off work on Mondays and could be available for a call 6/6 around 1 pm my time (Pacific). Does that work for you?

    1. Hello Holly!
      Alan would love to FaceTime Oregon! Unfortunately, I go and see him on Tuesday and Thursday from about 1:30-5 Est. Time zone. Would any time in there work for you?

      Thanks so much for reaching out!


      1. Ok, sorry for the delayed response, but I needed some scheduling/vacation info from my office before I got back to you. Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually my busiest, most unpredictable days, BUT I am taking the week of July 11 off, so we can schedule the call for July 12 around 1 pm my time (which I believe would be 4 for you). Would that work for you and Alan to visit Oregon?


  7. Abby, this is so amazing! I LOVE Alan! He (& Mr. T) inspired me beyond measure. (I had the privilege of serving as the first Mercy Volunteer at SOURCE.) Please, would you consider a FaceTime call with me?! I’d so love to reconnect with Alan and Mr. T, and introduce him to my family. I’ll be looking for friends to help him visit the remaining states. May God bless you and the sacred work you’re doing!

    1. Julie!

      It is so great to connect with you. Alan and Mr. T have talked about you many of times! Alan would LOVE to see you again. We will be in touch soon!!


  8. I’ll be travelling between New Hampshire and Vermont June 10-12 and would also love to help out!

    1. Jaqui,

      Thank you so so much for reaching out! Unfortunately, I will be on retreat that weekend and will not be in Savannah. If you know of anyone else from Vermont, let me know!

      Thanks again and God Bless!


  9. Hi Abby!

    Awesome work! I passed this along to friends in Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Hopefully you can get those 3 states checked off the list!

    1. Hi Abby! It’s Kellie again…if you still can’t find anyone in Delaware, I’d be willing to drive there to Face Time with Alan (I live in Philly). Let me know if you’re in a pinch!

      1. Hey Kellie!

        Thank you so so much for passing along the message! I will let you know as the weeks go by if we have not found Delaware. Thanks again!

        God Bless!


    1. Hello Jessica!

      That would be awesome if you could FaceTime from CT! I go and visit Alan on Tuesday and Thursdays from about 1:30-5 EST. Time zone. Would any time in there work for you? Let me know!

      Thank you so so much for reaching out. It means the world!

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