Why I Ride: I ride for my Dad who passed away from Alzheimer's Disease Jan. 28, 2022. I also ride for my Uncle Harold who passed away 3 months later from Alzheimer's. And I ride for my grandmother on my Dad's side who I never knew because her brain was already ravaged by Alzheimer's by the time I was born and passed away when I was just a child.
I ride for the 6 million+ American's currently living with Alzheimer's. I ride for the 11 million+ caregivers who live this nightmare 24/7. And I ride for YOU and ME... because ANY of us could be next. Alzheimer's disease/all other dementia's - they don't care who you are, how much money you have, or who you know... it can get any of us. Just last week, in ONE day, I got the news that not one, but TWO friends father's passed away from Alzheimer's that week. It's happening all around us. If there is one thing I have learned over the past few years of sharing my story, it is that EVERYBODY knows someone who is/has been affected by this disease.
Throughout my own personal search for answers and knowledge, I have discovered that my Dad was in the rare 1-2% of people who carry 2 copies of a specific gene, (the APoE4 gene) that puts you at a significantly heightened risk for developing Alzheimer's. My Dad’s risk of developing Alzheimer's was 8-10x higher than that of the general population the day he was born. Due to the fact that he had 2 copies of this gene, and that he had to give one of those to me, I know that I have at least one copy of that in my DNA. Because of genetics, I KNOW that I am at a higher risk than at least 75% of the population. (1 in 4 of us carry at least one copy). I can do all the right things and take all the known preventative measures (eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, keeping my mind active/learning, etc), but that risk is always in the back of my mind and will always haunt me. (That probably explains a bit of my annoying passion for this )
I watched my Dad slowly disappear for almost 9 years. I cried for days after the first time he forgot who I was. I was heartbroken and relieved at the same time the day he died… those who know, know. It's devastating to watch someone so kind and so brilliant, who you love so much, struggle, suffer and eventually die while you are completely helpless to slow the progression of a disease which there is no cure that currently exists.
BUT, the research is out there and it is exciting! Promising research is happening RIGHT NOW and one day soon, with your help, the first SURVIVOR of Alzheimer's will be celebrated. But we aren't there yet...
Please support me in my efforts to find joy in the sadness and purpose in the loss... help me to make something good out of what myself and my family have endured. I share my story so openly and so often to try to help those currently experiencing this ordeal to not feel so alone, and to raise awareness at the desperate need for continued funding for the research necessary to finally put an end to this *insert your own expletive here* disease!
Over the past 5 years, between the Alzheimer's Walks in Atlanta, the 2 Rides I have done in Texas, and the one in Colorado, I have raised nearly $25,000 all for research!!!! That is incredible and I'm not stopping! My goal this year, (between the two rides I am doing, the first in New England in June, and the second in Texas in November) will be to raise over $10,000!!! I need your help! So please, whatever you can donate, I ask that you support all those suffering from this disease, all those caring for their loved ones with this disease, all those of us at risk for developing this disease, and all those of US that may end up developing Alzheimer's/other dementia's. We need this research... we need this money for the research...
Because most of all, we NEED a CURE!!