Friday, June 15, 2012
WKU students spend summer fundraising across the country as they ‘Bike4Alz’
A group of Western Kentucky University students – including two from Winchester – are spending their summer cycling for a cause. The young men, who are all members of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at WKU, are doing a 3,000- mile ride this summer to raise their goal of $175,000 for Alzheimer’s research.
The group began their “Bike4Alz” ride in International Falls, Minn., May 25 and will wrap up their 3,000-mile journey in Key West, Fla., on July 20.
So far this summer, the riders have been in four states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana) and arrived in the Bluegrass June 15. The team will stop in Owensboro, where they will spend some time riding and fundraising. Next, the group will head to Louisville and then Bowling Green.
Along their journey, the group has been greeted by generous friends, new and old, and family members who have opened up their homes and pocketbooks to support the Bike4Alz mission: to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and its effects and to make their donation of at least $175,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association. [I’d move the mission up closer]
In Indianapolis, the group was invited to attend country music legend Glen Campbell’s local performance, a part of his final concert tour. In early 2011, Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and the riders became familiar with his story at this year’s Alz Forum. According to team member Austin Lanter’s blog, the cyclists were able to raise funds at the concert and earned over $1,000 in a matter of minutes. Additionally, the group had the opportunity to go backstage to meet Campbell and his family.
Spirits have remained high for the group as they continue to ride across the country. Will Owens, a junior at WKU of Louisville, attributes this to the moments of focus and reflection the group does every morning during their daily prayer. At this time, they dedicate the day’s ride to someone who suffered with Alzheimer’s.
“Once the trailer is packed and everyone is ready to take off, we take a moment to remember why we ride,” Owens said. “It’s a very serious moment for guys who usually make everything fun.”
Follow the team’s journey on Facebook and Twitter, and you can also check out Austin Lanter’s and Will Owens’ blogs at ajslbike4alz.com and jwillowens.com.
To donate or for more information about Bike4Alz, visit www.bike4alz.com.
Will Owens – Louisville
Will Garcia – Louisville
Dylan Ward – Hartford
Trip Carpenter – Owensboro
Ben Harris – Winchester
Tyler Whittmer – Evansville
Sam Wells – Paris
Austin Lanter – Winchester
Jonathan Baron – Somerset
Scottie Ellis of Guthrie/Mays contributed to this story, photo by Shelby Mack