Why I Ride: I never expected to become a cyclist. Growing up with cerebral palsy, I intently avoided exercise, even though it was prescribed. My Nan was an active participant in the care of my disability. She would ask me almost every time she saw me, "Have you been doing your exercises?" It only took me two decades to finally be able to answer her, "Yes!" I've been riding with Peloton for over a year now, proud of my commitment and my increase in strength. Nan is also proud. However, she doesn't always remember my accomplishments with my new hobby as well as she used to.
My nan, Olive, has been an invaluable component of my life. From using, "I have a British grandma!" as my fun fact about myself through grade school, to learning what means to have confidence in yourself and be heard, and to always being a little cheeky, she has been such a pillar in my life. Always the life of the party, my friends were eager to see her at various family functions. Sassy, exuberant, and confident are the words I would use to describe my Nan. However, the past few years have brought an acceleration in her dementia and tarnished her luster. It's been incredibly hard to watch the effervescent conversationalist, who taught me the art of conversation about nothing, quietly go into herself as the dementia steals her from the moment. Every so often, the Nan I know and remember will make an appearance. However, as her dementia progresses, those moments feel more fleeting.
Right now, there is no shortage of ideas in Alzheimer’s research — only dollars. Which is why I am asking for your support. I am participating on the Ride to End ALZ, a fully-supported, one day fundraising event where every dollar raised supports the Alzheimer’s Association’s efforts to discover methods of treatment and prevention for Alzheimer’s disease. With my career being in clinical research, I can attest to how much money it takes to get treatments to market. I want to do my part.
So now, I ride for me, but I also ride for her. With each mile I ride, I am raising funds to advance research toward the first survivor of Alzheimer’s--to the hope that there will be a day when other's nans get to stay their vibrant selves. Thank you for cheering me on.
Ride with me on Peloton: @GentryGoes