BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Ten years and eight rides later, ‘Bike4Alz’ is traveling from coast to coast to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association.
The association is dedicated to helping end Alzheimer’s, or other Dementia by furthering global research and focusing on signs of early detection.
On Wednesday, July 21, they made a pit stop at Virginia Tech’s campus and were welcomed by former members of Phi Gamma Delta and supporters. The group is originally from Western Kentucky University and is a part of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
The 14 men started their trek by driving from Kentucky to San Francisco. Twelve riders then hit the road from California as two drivers followed along.
Their goal is to reach Virginia Beach which totals 3,600 miles. Along the way, they will sleep at various churches. In previous rides, the fraternity made connections with organizations to help them as they drove state to state.
“We are biking coast to coast, San Francisco to Virginia Beach, for Alzheimer’s research. A lot of the team, over half, have personal connections to Alzheimer’s, so a family member has it usually. We are very passionate about the cause, so that is what keeps us going,” said Justin Geilar, a bicyclist.
Bike4Alz was originally founded in 2010 by former fraternity member Tyler Jury. Jury lost his grandfather, Barret Cummings, to Alzheimer’s and started raising money to help find a cure for the disease. However, this generous act of kindness turned into a cross-country non-profit to help raise awareness. His fraternity brothers now continue the tradition.
This year, they are trying to raise $100,000.
“We have traveled about 3,200 miles so far. You know in California, through the desert in Nevada, through Utah, up the Rockies in Colorado, through the flats in Kansas, down through Missouri, then Kentucky, now we are here in Virginia,” said Ben Betts, a bicyclist.
Another bicyclist, Will Thompson says when he joined the fraternity he saw how inspired former members were when they decided to go on the ride. Thompson says they told stories of how much fun they had with their brothers, especially since it was motivation through helping people and dedicating months of their time to doing something selfless.
Before the group sets off for Virginia Beach, they will stop at English Meadows Senior Living Blacksburg Campus memory care unit and deliver gifts to to the Alzheimer’s patients.
Then, they are off to their last destination, where their families are waiting to help them celebrate their 3,600 mile ride.
For more information on Alzheimer’s research go to https://www.alz.org.
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