“Ride to Remember” in the battle to cure Alzheimer’s, was Saturday

For more than 350 people, the battle to cure Alzheimer’s disease is important enough to spend a famously hot July weekend bicycling 252 miles from the Upstate to the coast

The Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter’s 9th annual “A Ride to Remember” event began Friday in Greenville. The riders passed through the Midlands Saturdayand will stay overnight in Orangeburg before heading out Sunday morning for the final leg, finishing at Patriots Point in Charleston.

“Today is the roughest day because you’ve got one day behind you and that was exciting, but now you’re just running on endorphins and adrenaline,” Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter Director of Communications and Advocacy Taylor Wilson said Saturday. “We’re just trying to get to Sunday, but once we get there, we have the best time.”

The riders got a warm reception and a welcome break from the heat in Orangeburg County Saturday as the town of North hosted a rest stop, opening town hall and giving the travelers access to air conditioning and indoor restroom as well as a chance to refuel with sandwiches, snacks and cold water.

“We’re just a community-based town. We love doing it,” said North Town Councilwoman Deborah Cook at the rest stop Saturday. “A lot of us have had close contact with Alzheimer’s. It’s great to see the money all these cyclists are raising.”

Photos: ColaDaily/Allen Wallace

The cyclists had combined to raise more than $500,000 as of noon Saturday. The money will be used to provide Alzheimer’s support services, education programs and research grants through the Alzheimer’s Association.  The community may donate to support the cause at www.aridetoremember.org.

“It has been amazing to watch A Ride to Remember grow each year,” said Ashton Houghton, Vice President of Development for the Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter. “We first launched this event with just 20 riders raising $16,000, and we could not have imagined how the Ride would be embraced by our cycling community. This will be our best event yet, thanks to our enthusiastic riders, donors, sponsors and volunteers.”

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder that currently impacts 86,000 people in South Carolina.  More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

The Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter provides a 24-Hour Helpline (800-272-3900), information and referral, support groups, caregiver respite vouchers, and more to families affected by the disease. A portion of all funds raised will support national research efforts to determine the cause of and potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.