rideATAXIA Chicago took place in Channahon Central Park in Channahon, Illinois on July 19, 2015. July provides some tough weather (HOT!) for an outdoor physical event, but we had 370 riders and 20 teams. This was the fourth annual event and, in my opinion, has grown leaps and bounds! As of today, we raised over $72,000 and counting (I met my fundraising goal!). I am so honored to be a part of this event, it is so well organized and very empowering. rideATAXIA gives people with FA the opportunity to participate in an able-bodied ride in a safe and supportive event with people that understand the condition while educating everyone else!
The people that have started and grown this event are Kyle Bryant, FARA, Team Emily, the Young Family (especially Jamie Young and Becky (Momma) Young), The Bike Rack (SAG support) and Bob Irons from Outback Steakhouse along with Carraba's Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill. This year we had three special guests; Horizon Pharma
, Reata Pharmaceuticals
, and FA Cardiologist/Researcher/FARA Scientifiic Advisory Board member Mark Payne
. These fresh faces energized the event. While I usually maintain hope for a cure, these people are at the front lines and very excited. It’s even more exciting that they take the time to put a face to this condition and hopefully are able to take those faces back to the lab and use their strength to push them to a cure!
Advertising for the ride is so amazing to see. The word is spreading through billboards, WGN TV (watch HERE
), WGN TV spots, articles (read the Chicago Athlete Magazine article HERE
and the Friedreich's Ataxia News article HERE
), and the ever present spokesman Kyle Bryant as the star of The Ataxian (watch The Ataxian movie HERE
I will forever be surprised and impressed by the kindness of strangers. And it will never cease to amaze me the strength that people have. As horrible as FA is, if you want to, you can overcome any obstacle.