Why I Ride:
- Team Iola is named after Iola Cates, Leslie’s Mom, who passed away in 2013 after living with Alzheimer's for several years. We ride in honor of Iola and also her husband and primary caregiver Charles Cates (aka Chuck or Charlie) who passed away in 2020.
- Iola and Charlie were married for over 50 years and theirs was a deep love. Together they raised four kids and one of the most important lessons they taught us was taking care of family and friends. Before Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, their lives had already been touched by dementia. Both Leslie’s Grandmother and Great Aunt suffered from dementia and together with Mom’s sister and brother, Iola and Charlie helped take care of them. Mom’s diagnosis changed their lives; as the disease progressed they weren’t able to entertain and travel to visit family and friends. Dad was Mom’s constant caregiver for several years. As her care needs increased, he finally and reluctantly made the tough decision for her to be cared for at an assisted living facility where he visited with her every day. My sister also spent many hours caring for Mom and Dad as the rest of the family pitched in as they could. Even as her disease progressed and she couldn’t remember who we were, Mom continued to smile for all of us. But she always remembered Dad. I’ll always treasure seeing Mom’s incredible smile that she reserved for Dad. Even Alzheimer’s couldn’t take their love for each other away from them. And that was a gift.
- So in return for that gift, we ride for Iola and Charlie and all Alzheimer's patients and caregivers
I am determined to go the distance for all those affected by Alzheimer’s. I am inspired by the strength of the more than 5 million Americans living with this disease, and the 16 million family members and friends who provide them with care. I am also inspired by science.
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 each mile I ride, I am raising funds to advance research toward the first survivor of Alzheimer’s. Thank you for cheering me on.