NORMAN — Joseph Choppi and Max Mossler are best friends on a ride to promote life. The 22-year-old recent graduates of Arizona State left Phoenix on Sept. 8, and arrived in Norman this week.
They are on a cross-country bicycle ride to draw attention to the need for organ donors.
It’s a personal journey for Choppi, who said his mission really began three years ago when his brother Michael committed suicide soon after his 24th birthday.
“My brother was a registered organ donor,” he said. “Life Share came to us at the worst time of our lives and explained to my family how others would be helped. That night Michael’s kidneys and liver went to three different people.”
Since that time Choppi said he and his family have worked to share their knowledge of the life saving benefits offered to others due to people who agreed to become an organ donor.
Their trip has another purpose, too. When they reach Chicago they plan to go to Wrigley Field.
“My brother was a huge Chicago Cubs fan. Huge,” Choppi said. “He wanted his ashes scattered on Wrigley Field. It was Max’s idea for us to do this.”
And maybe they will travel further. They said they would decide after they have been to Wrigley Field. They haven’t made advance plans and are hopeful it will all go well when they get to the baseball stadium.
Choppi and Mossler both grew up on the West Coast and they said the hospitality and easy friendship of Oklahomans and others they have met along the way is the best part of their trip. They have experienced bicycle breakdowns a few times, but have always found the parts or help they needed.
Choppi commented on the beauty of the University of Oklahoma campus and said it is impressive.
“We were not bicyclists when we started this ride,” Mossler said. “I think this sort of thing runs in my family because my dad went roller-skating across the country when he was 20.”
Learn more about Max and Joe on their website, bronatelife.com where there is a link to register as an organ donor.