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WHAT: Pedaling 4 Parkinson’s
WHEN: Saturday, June 24
WHERE: Sweetwater Park, Lone Tree. The park is just off of South Yosemite Street between Maximus Drive and Lone Tree Parkway.
Contact: To register to ride or volunteer, or to learn about starting times and the different rides, visit http://pedaling4parkinsons.org
Parkinson’s Disease cannot keep those affected from pedaling through south metro Denver on June 24.
The Pedaling 4 Parkinson’s event will take its participants from Lone Tree through Centennial and Highlands Ranch. Many people with Parkinson’s will be riding among their supporters and loved ones as money is raised to fund research to battle the disease.
Parkinson’s, a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement, afflicts one person in 100 people over the age of 60. Tremors, stiff movement and muscular issues are common. The cause of the disease is unknown and it affects people in different ways.
In the event’s eighth year, 200 to 300 cyclists are expected with an additional 300 volunteers and supporters. The annual charity bicycle ride and expo has raised $250,000 to fight Parkinson’s since its first ride in 2010.
The tandem bike project is one of the ride’s most notable aspects. Strong cyclists are paired on a tandem bike with someone who has Parkinson’s who cannot ride on his or her own. Tandem bikes are donated from various community bike shops.
“They may not be able to contribute anything in terms of effort,” longtime volunteer, Greg Fiske said.“But it allows them to get back on a bicycle when they thought that their cycling days were over. It allows them to be part of the solution … It is an emotionally powerfully part of the event to see these people who had pretty much given up hopes of riding a bike and then giving them an opportunity to do it.”
Fiske is deeply invested in helping at the event every year. His father has Parkinson’s and his stepfather died from a complication from the disease.
Fiske believes cycling is highly beneficial for those affected. He referenced several studies that showed how cycling can help people with Parkinson’s, mentioning a man who could not walk but who could ride a bicycle without a problem.
“The best thing people who have Parkinson’s can do is remain active physically, emotionally and intellectually,” Fiske said. “That slows the disease.”
Cyclists participating in the ride have the option to pedal through a 10-, 40- or 60-mile ride that begins at Sweetwater Park in Lone Tree. Each rider pledges to raise $150 for Parkinson’s disease in addition to their registration fee, with all donations going directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is committed to research and development of a cure for the illness.
After the ride, an expo for riders, families and community members will provide information about the disease. Representatives from the Michael J. Fox Foundation will be present and there will be music, food, children’s events and beer to enjoy.
“It is not just about raising money to send away for some research,” Fiske said, “but the founders really want to help people locally.”
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