I joined a team of seven riders for the Trek in 2013 with no direct connection to ALS and knowing little about it. Over those years, spending time with the families, their loved ones who suffer from the disease, and the doctors and staff of ALS-TDI has inspired me and my teammates.
This year, like so many things, the trek is a little different.
The Trek organizers are asking everyone to ride their 270 miles individually around their hometowns or on stationary bikes--instead of riding together as we normally do from Boston to Greenwich, Conn. To accommodate the difficult circumstances, riders are asked to reach the 270-mile goal any time this spring/summer or by June 21.
Our team Crush ALS/Team Bannon has 16 committed riders who are training and fundraising this year. My wife Sandra and I will complete the full 270 miles on Connecticut roads and, in Sandra's case, one in-person ride with our team in Manhattan on June 19th.
It certainly won’t be the same this year. But the Trek is about the critically important job of raising money to support ALS research, and about supporting the ALS community. All charities have been impacted by the events of the last few months, but the critical work of research continues. With (almost all) their fundraising events canceled this year, TDI has lost something like 40% of their annual budget and had to furlough staff and reduce salaries, including those of research scientists. Last year, the Trek raised about $1 million, or 10% of the lab’s annual budget. Our little team, Crush ALS, raised about $230,000 of that amount. We have told the organizers that we want to get as close as we can to this total again – to make sure that the work continues. They need our help now more than ever.
Many of you have supported me multiple times. Thank you. I don’t take it lightly and it encourages us all to keep riding each mile and up each hill. Whether you give once or annually, large or small, each bit makes a difference.