Retinis Pigmentosa is a genetically inherited eye disease that eventually leads to blindness. James "Bubba" Frigo was diagnosed almost two years ago, but before he lost his sight, he and his father decided to take a bike ride across the U.S. so James could see the country, while he still can.
The father-son duo started their journey in San Diego, and 3500 miles later, ended up in New York on "The Early Show" Friday morning to share with us the meaning of this month long trip.
Frigo recalled how the idea of a cross country tour had hatched.
"One day we were out riding across southern California on one of our regular fun rides, right after his diagnosis," said Frigo. "And he asked me, 'hey, dad, you know, could we ride across America?' I thought of the concept and I thought, man, can't we go to Vegas or something? He said, 'you know, dad, no one will ever remember us riding to Las Vegas but people will remember when I ride to New York, so how do you tell your children no?"
And so they began the ride. James currently is only suffering from night blindness, and with most of their rides taking place during the day, his disease barely got in his way.
While the disease is degenerative, James is hopeful that he won't ever go completely blind.
"The foundation for fighting blindness has given me a lot of hope there will be treatment or a cure for my eye disease within my lifetime, so there is hope I won't be blind," said James.
The Frigos got to see some amazing things on their month long journey across America, from the Grand Canyon to the nation's capital.
"We got a private tour of the capital building," said James, excitedly. "It was awesome."
This adventure was not only a chance for father-son bonding, but it was a great way to generate awareness and raise money to find a cure.
"The Foundation for Fighting Blindness has done remarkable thing. Really the awareness we want to bring to the American people is that there are millions of people out there suffering with a lot of retinal diseases," said Frigo. "We know by doing this, this will bring a lot of national publicity to the foundation. And we're just grateful to have the opportunity to do it and enjoy this time together."
The two plan on going to Niagara Falls and Mount Rushmore after their stay in New York, and then headed home to California.
For more information about the fight to cure blindness, please visit the Race to Cure Blindness website.
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