After failing three previous times, Victor Mooney managed to complete his solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. He arrived at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City on Friday and will celebrate his accomplishment at the Brooklyn Bridge on Monday, the Associated Press reports.
But Monday’s ceremony will not just be a celebration of his perseverance and physical stamina in completing the 21-month journey.
“I’m just grateful that I’ve been able to continue and to never give up. It’s just to encourage folks to get tested for HIV in memory of my brother,” he said.
Mooney, 49, has spent the past decade raising awareness of the virus, which took his brother’s life in 1983, according to the New York Daily News.
“We need to focus on prevention and education and tell people to never give up,” the Queens, N.Y., man told the Daily News.
Mooney launched this successful journey from the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa, on Feb. 19, 2014. He rowed his boat to the Caribbean, surviving shark attacks, hunger and other setbacks, arriving in June 2014. He then rowed up the East Coast, losing 80 pounds during his 5,000-mile journey from Africa.