Hundreds pedal in Memory Ride for Alzheimer's
An estimated 37 bikers from New Hampshire took part in the 16th annual event. Cyclists began in Devens, Mass., and chose from 100-mile, 62-mile or 30-mile bike routes that traveled into the Granite State through Nashua and Hollis.
Doug Martin, 30, was part of a New Hampshire team that braved the heat and biked the 100-mile century loop, all for a worthy cause.
“This is a great way to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s and help with a good cause,” said Martin, an avid cyclist who was joined by a small group of other southern New Hampshire residents.
Martin said he has close friends with parents and family members who are struggling with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, which affects about 5.4 million Americans.
One in eight older Americans have Alzheimer’s, a disease that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to data provided by the Alzheimer’s Association.
“I am glad to help out and raise money for more research efforts,” said Martin, whose team goal was to raise $3,000. “We are pretty close.”
This is Martin’s second year cycling in the Memory Ride, and he predicts it will become an annual tradition. He anticipated the 100-mile route would take between five and six hours to complete.
There were two pit-stops in New Hampshire, one at the Hollis Bus Depot and another at the Alpine Grove Banquet Hall.
“These are very dedicated bikers,” said Betsy Fitzgerald-Campbell, vice president of communications for the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter.
Expert and novice cyclists worked together to raise an estimated $300,000 dedicated solely to Alzheimer’s research, according to Fitzgerald-Campbell.
“A study has come out that suggests for every $1 spent on Alzheimer’s care, just 1 cent is spent on research. We just are lagging behind and we need to make the public more aware,” she said, thanking the many cyclists who raised funds and participated in the Memory Ride.
Since the Memory Ride began 16 years ago, more than $3 million has been raised for Alzheimer’s research, said Fitzgerald-Campbell, adding the top teams raise close to $10,000 each year.
This year, payments for Alzheimer’s care are expected to reach $200 billion in the United States, with more than 15 million Americans providing unpaid care valued at $210 billion for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, according to the Alzheimer’s Association website.
In New Hampshire, there were 22,000 people living with Alzheimer’s in 2010. That statistic is projected to increase by 5 percent by 2020, with an estimated 23,000 people then living with the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“We are trying to do more to help, which is one of the reasons for this ride, and the walks we do in the fall that draw about 20,000 people,” said Fitzgerald-Campbell. “We are trying to make a difference.”
The association projects that unless something is done to change the trajectory of the disease, as many as 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s by 2050, according to its website.
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Kimberly Houghton may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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