Do something fun and fulfilling that’s available to anybody and you might want to share it with others — that’s the happy half of the motivation behind Carol Stone, who worked to help bring a fundraising bike ride to the D.C. area.
Stone’s work to create a National Capital Area version of the Alzheimer’s Association Ride to End ALZ was inspired by the loss of three family members to the disease.
Stone’s grandmother was diagnosed with senility in the 1960s, when little was known about Alzheimer’s disease. Stone’s mother had Alzheimer’s, beginning in her 70s. She died in 2012 after battling the disease for about 15 years. Then Stone’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and lived with Stone and her spouse during the last three years of her life, before passing away in 2018.
“In the midst of all of that, I learned that there was a cycling event in South Carolina that was raising funds for research and for care and support in this horrible world of the Alzheimer’s disease and all of the dementias,” said Stone, 67, of Oakton, Virginia.
“And although I was not a cyclist, I volunteered. And just seeing that event, and the dedication of all the cyclists, the volunteers, the staff, the communities in supporting that effort, caused me to take up cycling, believe it or not. I was 60 years old at the time, had never been a cyclist. But I knew that I had to do something that would have an impact,” she said.
Stone currently serves as the co-chair of the Ride to End ALZ — Nation’s Capital Community Engagement Committee.
The Ride to End ALZ events around the country are fundraisers, and they also work to help spread awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia, to bring it out into the light so that people know about it and are willing to talk about it.
“It’s about sharing your story, hearing other people’s stories, and the cycling events, I promise you, you’ve not experienced anything like it. It is just incredible to participate in one of these events,” Stone said.
The Ride to End ALZ – Nation’s Capital is on Sunday. Participants can choose a 25-, 45-, 70- or 100-mile route that begins and ends in Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. You can register up until the day of the ride.
The fully supported event will have rest stops along every route, as well as mechanics, SAG (support and gear), breakfast, lunch and live entertainment.
The registration donation is $75. The minimum fundraising is $500, which earns the rider a jersey. Fundraising continues for 30 days after the ride. For D.C.’s 2022 inaugural ride, no registered riders will be turned away because the fundraising minimum has not been met. Late registrants are asked to raise what they can.
“Help us end Alzheimer’s right now. It is a fatal disease. There is no cure; there is no solution. If you get Alzheimer’s, it’s going to get you if something else doesn’t get you first. So just join the fight,” Stone said. “This is just such a great way to make a difference. And if I can help just one person, then it has all been worth it.”