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Biggest Loser finalist in Bristol to raise awareness about childhood obesity

By Callan Gray, cgray@wcyb.com
Published On: Aug 08 2014 07:34:01 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 08 2014 07:39:56 PM CDT
BRISTOL, Va. -

A Biggest Loser finalist is riding his bike across America to raise awareness about childhood obesity.

His journey is more than 2,000 miles long and on Friday it took him through Bristol.

Joe Ostaszewski rode into Bristol in the pouring rain alongside season 15 contestant Jennifer Messer.

It was his ninth day on the trail.

"Everywhere we're going right now we're creating ripples," he said. "If it's just one person, I know one person, that one person is going to change the next person."

It's called the Riding It Forward campaign to raise money for Ostaszewski's own Wear Your Soul project and the National 4-H Council.

Wear Your Soul is a project he's working on with his twin brother to create camps at universities around the country where children can participate in individual sports like kayaking or rock climbing.

Ostaszewski told us he's teaching the children he meets about the four H's of healthy living: head, heart, hand and health.

"Until you get your head lined up with why you're eating these foods, why you need to be eating healthy and your heart, your heart feels it right?" he said.

He said it's also important to exercise, which is why he's asking those he meets to ride along with him.

"Kids hold up a sign and say #ridingitforward, I rode 5 miles on my bicycle for Riding It Forward [or] I walked two miles," said Ostaszewski.

About 4,000 miles have already been pledged after only a week and a half.  

Ostaszewski will ride 2,937 miles in total by the time he reaches the Biggest Loser ranch in California.

"The last 200 miles through the Virginia mountains has taught this Florida boy a lesson about hills," he said.

Ostaszewski told us every mile is worth it to have the chance encourage others to live a healthy lifestyle.

To get involved with the ride, you can visit his website.