Jul 092013

Riding to End Alzheimer's riders on their way to Groton this Saturday

Riding to End Alzheimer’s riders pedal through Groton twice this Saturday

In the largest Ride To End Alzheimer’s bicycle event to date, several hundred riders will pedal from Devens through West Groton on their way to New Hampshire, and back through Groton Center this Saturday. The Ride to End Alzheimer’s raises money and awareness to fight Alzheimer’s disease. Rivercourt Residences in West Groton is an important pit stop on the race, where long-distance riders check in, get refreshments or lunch and get back on the road. It’s staffed by local volunteers, including EMTs from the Groton Fire Department.

Riding this year are a number of Groton residents. Maureen Beal and Kate Murphy are riding independently. Team Memory Makers includes Peter Kokolski and Kathleen Boynton. And Team A Ride Down MEMORY Lane includes Sue Shepherd, Mark Shepherd, Chris Graham, Kirsta Davey, and Anne Aumais (Beth Falkner from Dunstable is the team leader). More than 450 riders are expected for a variety of ride distances.

The Ride to End Alzheimer's runs through Groton twice on Saturday -- through West Groton on the way to New Hampshire, and through town center on the way back to Devens.

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The Ride to End Alzheimer’s runs through Groton twice on Saturday — through West Groton on the way to New Hampshire, and through town center on the way back to Devens.

For the training wheel set, the Ride to End ALZ offers a new two-mile family option this year, just a short comfortable ride around Devens. The ride distance has been shortened and this is a wonderful opportunity to spend time as a family and fundraise for an important cause, according to ride organizers. Longer routes are the 30-mile Introductory Ride, the 62-mile Metric Century, and the 100-mile Century, all looping on scenic routes through central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Donations for Family Riders are $50 per person; f0r 30-milers, $250 per person, for the Metric Century, $500 per person; and for the Century, $750 per person. Riders may register on site Friday night at the Devens Common Center from 4:00-8:00 p.m. and Saturday morning at Devens Museum Field, the ride headquarters.

If you’re not riding, but want to be part of the excitement, families are welcome to join the fun at the post-ride BBQ, which includes live music, massages for cyclists, children’s activities, an exhibitors fair, and more.

According to a press release from the Massachusetts/New Hampsire Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association,

The Ride to End ALZ benefits the Alzheimer’s Association’s® research efforts into causes, treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s, the degenerative, fatal brain disease that affects 5.4 million Americans. To date, the Ride to End ALZ has raised more than $3 million for research.

Starting and finishing at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, the Ride has become one of the state’s fastest-growing charity events.

The Ride to End ALZ is designed to involve entire families as well as cyclists seeking a challenge. Each participant agrees to raise a minimum amount of money and fundraising levels have been set as reachable goals, according to Ride coordinator Angela Floro of the Alzheimer’s Association. “We want everyone to feel they can get involved, from novices to experienced distance riders,” said Floro. “We hope people bring their family, bring their friends.”

The Association offers training and cycling information for casual riders and serious cyclists. Riders and those who would like to volunteer to help with the event can sign-up at www.alzmass.org/ride. The event includes a post-ride BBQ, exhibitors’ fair and children’s activities.

“This disease is tremendously difficult for the people affected and for their families. The Ride not only raises much needed money for research but also raises public awareness and understanding,” James Wessler, President/CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter, said. Wessler is also one of the hundred-mile riders.

“We are seeing significant increases in the number of people calling our 24/7 Helpline and seeking our services,” Wessler said. “We want people to reach out for information. An early diagnosis does make a difference in the course of the disease because there are treatments and lifestyle changes that may slow the progression of the symptoms.”

The Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter has headquarters in Watertown, MA and regional offices in Springfield, Raynham, and Worcester, MA and Bedford and Lebanon, NH. The Alzheimer’s Association provides services and programs for those with Alzheimer’s, family and professional caregivers in the form of support groups, a 24/7 Helpline, care consultation, advocacy efforts, research funding and education programs. Visit www.alz.org/MANH for more information.