The below article was originally published in the Winter 2015/2016 edition of the FARA Advocate.
rideATAXIA belongs to the whole FA community and their supporters. The success lies in numerous families and their communities planning, recruiting, fundraising, volunteering, and cycling. The 2015 rideATAXIA program welcomed over 2,000 participants, including representatives from 93 FA families, who raised more than $750,000 in support of FARA’s mission to treat and cure FA.
There are a number of contributing factors to a successful ride program. First, our generous sponsors, in particular our National Presenting Sponsor, Outback Steakhouse, make the ride possible. Outback Steakhouse, joined by Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill in some locations, prepares an unparalleled post ride meal that sets rideATAXIA apart from other area rides. In addition to working with some incredible sponsors, rideATAXIA is honored to work with many dedicated FA families who help us execute each ride.
At every ride location, there is one person (or a core group) holding it all together and filling in the gaps whenever there is a need. At rideATAXIA Orlando, this person is Jennifer Shaw and her MO is “whatever it takes.” Jennifer organizes many volunteers, secures rest stop donations and post lunch beverages, stuffs registration packets, connects us with an awesome volunteer DJ and talented photographer (thank you Frank and Kerry!) and spreads the word to friends, colleagues and even strangers. Jennifer is co-captain of Team TARA for FARA with her daughter, Tara Ryan. Tara said, “Participating in the rideATAXIA events is a great and fun way to raise funds for research. I was just accepted to be a part of a clinical trial at the University of Florida starting next month. Without these fundraisers I know that this trial would not be available to me. I am so happy to do my part in finding a treatment or a cure for FA.” Team TARA for FARA has consistently drawn a large team of riders and is always one of the top fundraising teams.
rideATAXIA Orlando welcomed 300 cyclists who raised over $80,000. The rideATAXIA program relies on a number of teams to recruit riders and raise funds, and Orlando is no exception. Here are some highlights from our top Orlando teams for number of participants and fundraising.
Team Gavin’s leader is the unstoppable 10-year-old, Gavin Lambert. Gavin has a strong co-captain in his friend, Tom Bradley. Together, these two guys have recruited the largest team from their hometown in Tampa and brought them to Orlando for the past two years. In 2014, they recruited over 100 riders which made their team the largest in the history of the ride program. Gavin’s mom, Dawn said, “rideATAXIA has shown us that no matter the ability or disability, everyone is going to give it their all and is really out there to enjoy the ride.”
Inspired by Christian and Isabelle Maugee, Team Crizzy has been the top fundraising team in Orlando, raising over $20,000 annually. Team Crizzy travels over three hours from Ft Lauderdale, FL to participate in the ride. Team Captain, Caroline Maugee said, “We love to be surrounded by all the awesome families like us that are affected by FA. We know that by fundraising for FARA we are closer to finding a cure! Go Team Crizzy!”
In 2016, one of rideATAXIA’s goals is to recruit more FAmily participants than ever before—whether that’s on the planning committee, riding, fundraising, volunteering, or just coming to lunch to connect with the community. Please join us for one of our 2016 rides.