When Ryan Tripp was 12 years old he heard about a four month-old girl in his hometown who needed a liver transplant. Ryan decided to help her out. In 1997 he left Salt Lake City, Utah on a trip across America to raise money for her - except he wasn't biking or inline skating. Ryan rode a lawnmower. 42 days later, he arrived in Washington and set a world record for the longest lawnmower ride in history.
Ryan mowed the lawn of the US Capital (Washington, D.C.) and met Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. He increased awareness about organ donors and raised $15,000 for the baby girl's medical expenses. Ryan appeared on the David Letterman Show and met the country music group Brooks and Dunn. He was also a guest on the Nickelodeon show Figure it Out.
Two years later, Ryan set out to break another record. At the same time he promoted organ and tissue donations across 50 states by mowing the lawn of every state capital in the US in 75 days. Ryan began his quest on June 1, 1999 in Salt Lake City.
"Ryan Tripp's determination to take the message of organ and tissue donation to all 50 states is inspiring," said Nebraskan Governor Johanns. "His efforts are certain to increase awareness of the need for organ and tissue donors. Hopefully, those individuals waiting for the life-saving gift of organ and tissue donation will come closer to their goals, too."
On August 9, 1999 Ryan set his record. At 11:30 am Ryan mowed the capital lawn of Honolulu, Hawaii along with the Lt. Governor. Afterwards, he signed the back of the lawnmower and then had lunch. At 14, Ryan not only mowed more lawns than most people but he increased awareness about organ donation. You can read his diary entries during his lawn cutting days on his site.
Heroes don't have to be famous. They can be moms, dads, brothers, sisters, friends or neighbors... or maybe they are famous. Know anyone knocking themselves out for a good cause? Feel like singing their praises? We'd love to profile them. Give us the details below in the comments section.