Dear Alzheimer's Association

Dear Alzheimer's Association,

I helped raise some money for y’all.

This past weekend, myself and 363 other cyclists pedaled across South Carolina, in return our friends and family gave us money.

Start of the 2017 SC Ride to Remember
Start of the 2017 SC Ride to Remember

July in South Carolina is crazy hot and we have a lot of crappy roads. And when those crappy roads heat up, they’re really crappy. And that’s why people gave us money. Because pedaling across South Carolina, in July, is just nuts. When you ask your friends for money for a great cause, they sort of shrug because everyone is constantly asking everyone for money. Juvenile Diabetes, No Kid Hungry, Multiple Sclerosis, Meals on Wheels, etc. I’m not complaining, that’s the hallmark of a civilized society, we take care of one another. But it can get tiresome.

South Carolina in July
South Carolina in July

Yet when we ask someone for money they usually say yes. Because we’re crazy to ride across South Carolina in July, and our friends think we’re on a death march so they want to be nice to us before we die of heat stroke, so they give us money.

The SC Ride to Remember
The SC Ride to Remember

We spend months getting ready. We raise money, change our diets, drink lots of water, and spend a lot of time on our bikes. We may show up late for work, miss church, or stay out late on a Tuesday night because we’re riding. We’ll spend a paycheck on new tires and wheels, or a Garmin navigation system. We need to be prepared because you can’t just show up on Friday morning and expect to successfully ride across South Carolina in three days without putting in your time and having the right gear.

The 2017 SC RIde to Remember
The 2017 SC RIde to Remember

And this past Friday morning, that’s what we did. We spent three days cycling across South Carolina, paying back our friends and family that gave us money. It was hot, the roads were of course crappy and there was rain. And when I say rain, I mean a downpour of biblical proportions. In Charleston. At high tide. Yeah, after 245 miles, some of us had to slowly cycle through a river of sewery salt water.

Exhausted after day one of the 2017 SC Ride to Remember
Exhausted after day one of the 2017 SC Ride to Remember
The 2017 SC Ride to Remember
The 2017 SC Ride to Remember

So here’s our check for five hundred and seventy something grand. That’s correct. Our group of 364 cyclists raised almost six hundred grand. And before you deposit it, you’ve got to understand what this cost us. We paid for that money in sweat, blood, and broken bones. Over the course of three days, we endured 96 degree weather, sunshine so relentless it scorched through three layers of sunscreen, and the occasional flat tire. Some of us crashed, a few of us ended up in the hospital, one of us is still there. She’s going to be okay, but it was touch and go for 24 hours.

The 2017 SC Ride to Remember
The 2017 SC Ride to Remember

Why did we do this? Why did we go to such extremes to raise almost six hundred grand? Why even bother at all? Look, we know that Alzheimer's research eats up a massive amount of money. Heck I’ve got a college buddy that’s a clinical neurologist at the Mind Center in Jackson, MS and he routinely receives tens of millions of dollars in research grant money, per year. Tens of millions every year. Because he’s a really smart guy and maybe he’ll be the one that finds that breakthrough and puts the first nail in the coffin of Alzheimer's disease. And here we are with our paltry five hundred seventy something grand. We might as well throw a cup of water into the Atlantic and say we helped raise the sea level.

The 2017 SC Ride to Remember
The 2017 SC Ride to Remember

But you see, it’s our money. That five hundred seventy something grand cost us a heck of a lot more than a long weekend on our bikes. We’re not neurologists, we’re lawyers, truck drivers, sales reps, insurance adjustors, doctors, cosmetologists, chefs, and plumbers. And most of us have watched a loved one die from Alzheimer's. Maybe it was a mom or dad, aunt or uncle, grandmother or brother. We’ve watched them go from a vibrant, loving, kind human being full of stories and memories to something more like a ghost; a thin, wispy version of themselves that barely resembles the person we loved so much.

Mileage from day two of the 2017 SC Ride to Remember
Mileage from day two of the 2017 SC Ride to Remember

That’s why we did this. We may have a diverse background but we’ve all suffered the devastating effects, and affects, of Alzheimer's. And we’re all cyclists so this is the best way we know how to help in the fight.

So here’s our check. Please spend it wisely. This money cost us dearly so please treat it as such. We know, it’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s our money. Please make it count.

Soggy finish to the 2017 SC Ride to Remember
Soggy finish to the 2017 SC Ride to Remember

Sincerely,

John

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