Phillip Bennett is remembered for his confidence and passion for life. He was focused on others as he was a leader in the charge to find a cure for FA. For that reason we dedicate the 2011 Ride Ataxia NorCal to Phillip Bennett.
Phillip was not afraid of the future that this disease had planned, he lived moment by moment, squeezing every drop from life. Phillip's close friend Jamie Richards writes "Too many of us wait. And wait, and wait. Someday, we tell ourselves, we'll say it, start it, try it, do it or complete it. Phillip didn't wait. He swam and skied. He rode roller coasters. He rappelled and river rafted. He even went spelunking. He made friends. He laughed. He partied. He crammed 72 years of life into 27."
Phillip was the force behind Sunset On Friedreich's Ataxia (SOFA) which was a trail blazing effort, as it was the first substantial fundraiser dedicated strictly to FA research. This community dinner/dance/auction raised a total of $200k during its reign and led the way for many other large fundraisers to follow.
Phillip was always thinking bigger and better for the cause and for his own life. With reckless abandon and contagious enthusiasm he participated in activities such as Snowskiing:
Phillip is sorely missed but he will never be forgotten. He spent the last year and a half of his life writing his memoirs. The book was incomplete when he passed away. However Phillip's close friend Jamie Richards worked with Phil on the book and will finish it. View Jamie's article about Phil here.
Each year Ride Ataxia funds several research grants with the proceeds from the rides. This year the proceeds from the NorCal ride will be combined with Phillip's memorial fund. This money will be used to fund the 2011 Phillip Bennett Translational Research Award. There will be a request for proposals at the 4th International Friedriech's Ataxia Scientific Conference in Strasburg, France on May 5th and the funds will be distributed before the end of the year.
At Ride Ataxia NorCal we are riding for Phillip and his wish to end FA:
"Hope is a disability’s nemesis, and I hope a cure is found soon." - Phillip Bennett 7/8/1984 - 3/1/2011
To sign up for the ride and to help raise funds in honor of Phillip please visit the Ride Ataxia NorCal Website.