William Galloway, 56, started his cross-country bicycle trips about two years ago, after having enough of being told to trust a system he felt was designed to control and not help him after he suffered a brain injury due to a drunk driver.
Originally from New Jersey, he spent seven years in assisted living and four years in a group home for people with brain injuries. During his initial recovery, he had to relearn how to talk.
Prone to seizures and struggling from temporary job to temporary job because people were not willing to understand his situation, Galloway said, he was frustrated at the complacency of his situation. He decided to take back his life in what ways he could and go on the road.
"Nobody would advocate for me," Galloway said. "I was pretty mad at what I lost, that being a decade."
He also did not like how he felt when he took the medication his doctors prescribed him, saying they made him not himself.
Since then, he has opted for a nomadic lifestyle, traveling via bike across the country, a trip he has now made about six times, raising awareness about drunk driving and searching for a place to call home. His recent trip brought him to the Thunderbird Motel in Dodge City.
Galloway’s ultimate goal is getting into the Amen Clinic in Bellevue, Wash., a facility that he said is willing to accept him but is taking time.
As he rides across the country, relying on the kindness of strangers and those who have heard his story, he is waiting for an opening for Amen Clinic’s hyperbaric chamber, from which he said it takes 20 to 30 sessions to see results. He hopes it will help with his seizures and concentration.
Galloway has traveled through many terrains and weather conditions, as he pulled his small trailer of supplies — outfitted with flags, lights and a sign — asking about local organizations that could help him. He is currently on his second bike, donated from a company in Orlando, Fla., after wearing down the first one.
Galloway has been featured on television, radio and in newspapers many times throughout his travels, and his adventures, which he described as "Forrest Gump-like," have touched many people who support and advocate for his cause, many having dealt with brain injuries and drunk driving.
Many people have paid for meals, motel rooms and extra clothes in appreciation of his mission.
Sometimes he is accosted on the road and looked at with disdain by people thinking he is lazy or on drugs, and he has been run off the road and once his saddle bags were stolen off one of his bikes.
He is undeterred, despite the fact he has traveled across the country several times and understands that he may have to slow down due to age, he continues to tell his story to anyone who will listen and find help along the way as he waits for Amen Clinic to accept him.
"The first time going across I asked for help, wanted to get better help, I was going to get free help that I didn’t know was going to come, it made me keep going," Galloway said. "I didn’t want to give up and if I gave up there wouldn’t be much left of me.
"I let the drunk driver get the best of me, I let the people in the medical field that told me I shouldn’t do this get the best of me, so I keep going and get my story out."
Galloway said his major needs right now are money for food and to maintain his cellphone, 20-inch high pressure tires for his bike, XXL T-shirts with pockets and a winter sleeping bag.
For people wanting to help Galloway as he continues his journey, he accepts donations at www.paypal.me/williamg799 and he can be reached at email@example.com.