WEST CHESTER (November 27, 2019) – State Senator Andy Dinniman recently received a visit from Nathanael Ogden, an eighth-grade student who has Bardet-Biedl Syndrome. Nathanael has used his experience for good, helping others with the genetic syndrome through a fundraiser called the Rocky Ride.
“When faced with impossible obstacles, many people might think that giving up is the only option. Others, like Nathanael, choose the tougher option: to keep moving forward, helping others along the way,” Dinniman said. “Nathanael uses his own experience to help others with Bardet-Biedl get through theirs. That’s heroic.”
Bardet-Biedl Syndrome has a long list of possible symptoms and effects, ranging from kidney disease to visual impairment. Nathanael has lost 95 percent of his vision over the last 10 years. This hasn’t stopped him from helping others through Rocky Ride, a biking fundraiser he completes with his father, Tim Ogden. The trail starts at Uptown Worthington in Malvern, and journeys all the way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The Rocky Ride’s 2019 event raised over $33,000 for the Clinical Registry Investigating Bardet-Biedl Syndrome, and over the course of three years of biking, has raised over $93,000.
When Dinniman read about Nathanael’s story, he wrote him a letter – and a few weeks later, Nathanael responded with a letter of his own, delivered in-person with his father. As it turns out, Dinniman wasn’t the only elected official in the room.
“I was able to win vice president of the Student Council,” Nathanael said, due to his speech and a little campaign help from his younger brother, Jackson, to rally sixth grade voters.
Marie Henry, the executive assistant of Dinniman’s office and daughter of the founders of the Chester County Association for the Blind, shared her insights and learned her parents and Nathanael had a distinct similarity: competency in mental mathematics.
“He can solve complex algebra problems in his head,” Nathanael’s father said. “It’s just a matter of writing down how he got to those answers on the paper.”
Nathanael and Tim were eager to share more info about 2020’s Rocky Ride as soon as more details became available. In the meantime, Nathanael will be improving the lives of his fellow students as Vice President and improving the lives of others fighting Bardet-Biedl through his fighting spirit.
“Nathanael’s compassion, enthusiasm, and service are nothing short of inspirational,” Dinniman said. “We can all learn something from him.”