Why I Ride:
I had to check a different box this year. When registering for the ride, it asks you to share your connection to Alzheimer's/dementia. Last year, and every other time I have participated in an Alzheimer's event, I have checked the "I love/care for someone living with Alzheimer's disease/dementia. This year, I had to check the "I have lost someone to Alzheimer's/dementia" box. And I cried. Sobbed actually. Ugly tears. Because, as anyone dealing with the grief of losing of a loved one, it was one of those waves that comes out of nowhere and hits you like a thousand trucks all over again.
Last year, in early spring, I made the decision I was going to participate in the Ride2EndAlz in Texas in October. I hadn't been on a bike in 20-ish years so it was a lofty (nice way of saying a bit crazy) goal, but I did it. I bought a bike, learned how to ride again, trained like I haven't ever trained for something before... and I did it. It was intense, I had no idea how hard that ride would be when I signed up... the hills, the wind... but I did it. I did it for my Dad. For my grandmother. For my uncle. I did it for all those living with and lost to this devastating disease. And those caring for them. And just those that LOVE them. It was that GRIT that got me through. It was the most incredible experience. I raised far more money for research than I ever could have dreamed, I met amazing people, and I exceeded my own personal expectations for what I could push myself and my body to do. I was on a high... I felt optimistic... I knew my dad would be the one most proud of me if he had any understanding of what I was doing...
And then my world came crashing down. About a month and a half after my ride, things took an ugly turn with my Dad. And 2 months after that... he was gone. Alzheimer's took him down fast. Scary fast. We weren't expecting it. Within 18 hours, my world went from optimistic and hopeful... to shocked, devastated and utterly lost, as I held my Dad's hand as he took his final breaths. My Dad had just turned 71. He wasn't suppose to die this young. He should still be here. I'm too young for my Daddy to be gone. I miss him every day and it still doesn't feel real.
Over the past few years, I have participated in various events with the Alzheimer's Association to raise money and awareness to fight for my Dad. None of these events have been as personally meaningful, rewarding, or intensely powerful to so many, as the Inaugural Texas Ride2EndAlz last October. And whereas my Dad's fight on this Earth has come to an end, MY fight is still holding strong and will CONTINUE to hold strong until the day a cure is found.
This year, I will not only participate in the Texas ride... I will also be participating in the Colorado ride on June 12... which just happens to be the day after my 40th birthday. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate a milestone birthday, than to honor the man who made me so much of who I am. My family will be with me to support and celebrate with me, including my father, as we will be spreading his ashes in some of his very favorite places in this world out in Colorado on this same trip.
Last year, I set a goal of raising $4,000. I raised $9,134.
Last year, the Ride2EndAlz Texas set a goal to raise $250,000... We raised over $450,000.
100 PERCENT of this money goes DIRECTLY to Alzheimer's Research.
Let’s continue this trend of exceeding expectations… because of love and grit and passion.
Please support me this year in whatever way you can. Financially, sending prayers for my training and my broken heart, or even just words of encouragement. My goals are BIG this year because I know I can do it. And even better... this year MY DAD KNOWS WHAT I AM DOING!!! I have a guardian angel looking down on me, guiding my ways and my pedal strokes, keeping me motivated.
Let my Dad's final act on this Earth, be to fight against the shit-can of a disease that took him from us way, way too early.
Thank you, and God bless you all!