Couple going on 2,500-mile bike ride for a cause

Mark Paulissen, Mary Sodano raising awareness, funds for research on hydr­ocephalus

SAN ANTONIO - Mark Paulissen, 48, and Mary Sodano, 48, have quit their jobs and are moving across the country -- and they are doing it in the most unconventional way: on their bicycles.

"We're riding from Tampa, Fla., to Denver, Colo. We're raising awareness for hydrocephalus, " Paulissen said.

Mary's 17-year-old niece is afflicted with the condition that can cause everything from learning disabilities to death. It is a disease that not a lot of people have heard of.

As a result, it doesn't draw much in the way of money for research funds.

"The government only spends about $3 per person on research as opposed to cancer, which is thousands of dollars per year," Sodano said.

So the couple is using their trek to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease. 

They've even found an energy drink company to sponsor them.

"If we raise $3,000, Celsius will match that $3,000," Paulissen said.

So far, they've managed to raise about $1,000.

"One hundred percent of what people donate goes straight to hydrocephalus," said Paulissen. "We don't take any cut. Celsius doesn't take any cut. Completely 100 (percent) to hydrocephalus (research)."

If everything goes well, they'd like to do it again after the upcoming winter.

"I would like to get back on the bike and go back to the Pacific," Paulissen said. "I'd like to go from the coast -- the Gulf Coast -- all the way to the Pacific."

To donate to their ride -- dubbed "The Spirit of America" -- go to


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