By now, almost everyone knows about ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Many have had the misfortune of direct experience with the disease. Suffice it to say that it is a devastating and dreadful disease. We are committed to eradicating it.
ALS is not incurable. Rather, it is underfunded. The Tri State Trek provides a meaningful portion of the annual budget of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS-TDI). ALS-TDI is the world's foremost drug discovery center focused exclusively on ALS. Pioneering the "biotech model," ALS-TDI places the patient at the center of every decision made in the lab. The team of scientists at ALS-TDI collaborates daily in the lab and through pharmaceutical company partnerships worldwide to discover cures and treatment for ALS.
Just since last year ALS-TDI has tested 22 potential drugs for ALS, with another 20 in the pipeline for 2020. A new animal model of ALS (in zebrafish) has been developed and two additional animal models will be developed this year. These animal models allow for the study of various mutations of the disease.
Moreover, with the money coming directly from the Tri-State Trek, three compounds have been validated for treatment by ALS-TDI and are now in clinical trial. For a disease having no effective treatment, this is a major beakthrough.
I am both privileged and honored to ride for Team Bannon-Crush ALS (pictured above). In its eleven-year history, this team alone has raised in excess of $1 million in contributions to the Tri State Trek. While this is an accomplishment of which we are very proud, we have not completed our mission: To eradicate ALS. This can only happen through the continued generosity and compassion of our wonderful donors. More than ever, we need your support in 2020.
In this year of unprecedented events, we are faced with a new and very different challenge: COVID-19. The Tri-State Trek, for obvious reasons, cannot operate under its existing model. Instead, it has been transformed into the My State Trek. Riders are invited to complete 270 miles (riding solo from their home base) and post these rides to a common website known as Strava. The sincere hope is that you, the faithful supporters of this ever so worthy cause, will find it in your hearts to contribute in the same manner as if the Trek were functioning in a normal fashion.
In lieu of the 270 mile, three-day bike ride from Boston to Greenwich, CT, which was scheduled for June 19-21, 2020, I pledge to ride an equivalent distance over the same three days, starting from home and returning there every 25-30 miles to replenish the Gatorade, so as to avoid convenience store purchases. This will be my sixth consecutive year of participation in this great event. Your contribution will place your name on the list of recipients of my daily ride updates, which I will provide in the same fashion as in prior years, as I share this unique experience with you. My challenge will be to make these narratives interesting, despite the repetitive nature of the courses I shall ride.
While I have not had a relative diagnosed with ALS, I have clearly been impacted by the disease through the people I have met who are associated with the Tri State Trek and ALS TDI. The riders and those they ride for, as well as the doctors and staff at ALS TDI, are truly inspirational. It is rewarding to see our team grow and our fund raising efforts flourish for such a worthwhile cause. This is the only cause for which you will ever receive a fundraising plea from me.
Please be as generous as you can. Every little bit helps. Certainly some of our prior years' donors have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. To those of you upon whom the impact has been less severe, please consider an increased donation in this year to counterbalance the anticipated shortfall. And please take a moment to view the inspirational video directly below depicting what was to be on this epic ride. I hope that you will find this to be a worthwhile cause. Thank you, in advance, for your support.
Riding until we have a cure,