NEWBERRY — A Ride to Remember made the annual trip to Newberry College during the three-day journey to help raise funds to benefit the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.
This year 333 riders participated in the event, which encompasses about 252 miles. The ride began in Simpsonville, at Heritage Park with riders stopping at Newberry College (65 miles). On day two, the riders left Newberry and went to Orangeburg (87 miles), they also made a pit-stop in North for some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The third day the riders went from Orangeburg to Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant (100 miles).
On Friday, Taylor Wilson, director of Communications and Advocacy for Alzheimer’s Association S.C., said they passed the half a million dollar mark, and were still working toward their goal of $600,000.
“We have 333 riders, and probably about 50 volunteers who are spending their weekend in the July sun to raise money to end Alzheimer’s,” she said.
One of those riders may be familiar to readers, Chad Jenkins made the journey in memory of his father, John “Big John” Jenkins.
“I started last year, my dad had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, some type of memory disorder. Last year, kinda did it in his honor, he was still with us; he passed away December 30 from Alzheimer’s/Dementia related complications,” Jenkins said. “I plan to do it every year from now on in his memory.”
Jenkins was in the top 10 for raising the most money on Friday, he said he raised a little bit over $7,000, at that time. That number has gone up to $7,435 since the end of the ride, and even though the ride is over, people can still donate.
“People can visit my Facebook page, has the fundraiser on it; can go to A Ride to Remember’s website (aridetoremember.org) and you can search for a rider’s name or team and donate,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if you donate to me, it is all going to the same place for the same cause.”
Jenkins rode with a group from Laurens that called themselves the Laurens County Cycle Club. His team was made up of, Justin Brent, Gary Kuykendal, Arime Kommers.
According to Wilson, the money from the Ride to Remember will help with research.
“We are looking for a treatment or a breakthrough, something that can help us address this disease — which has no known survivors,” she said. “We are here raising money, first because we all think we are close to a breakthrough, something has to change and we cannot continue to watch these numbers rise.”
Wilson said the riders have names written on the bibs on their backs, and every year that list gets longer.
“What we are trying to do here, number one research is very important, but second thing is care and support for those in this state. Support groups, workshops, educational training — so we can help caregivers better understand how to handle difficult behaviors,” Wilson said. “All of that stuff is very important.”
Wilson added that everyone involved in A Ride to Remember, from volunteers to riders, have a connection to the disease and are all naturally able to connect.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.