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Ride Ataxia 2013 Reflection

This article is from The Advocate newsletter.  Read the entire newsletter here:

Young Family’s Involvement Is A Team Effort

At Ride Ataxia Chicago 2013, the Young family recruited the largest team in Ride Ataxia history. Team Emily consisted of 76 riders from their central Illinois hometown of Gibson City, which has a population of about 3,400. “We have been here our whole lives and have made some amazing friends so we are able to bring together a lot of people for the ride,” says Emily’s mom, Becky Young.

The strong community support goes beyond the impressive team numbers. “It is important for Emily to know that she has support. We have not been going through this on our own. When you are first diagnosed you go through that period of shock and disbelief. Then it has time to absorb and it just makes you realize how important today is — we try to live for today. After we let it sink in we decided we want to be proactive and that’s what led us to FARA.”

The Young family has been involved in a huge way. They have had two “Barnraisers” (a fundraiser party in their barn), a Team FARA for the Philadelphia Half Marathon and the Chicago Half Marathon, and the largest team in Ride Ataxia Chicago for the past two years.

“Since we have become involved we discovered a great community of doctors and scientists who care about a treatment just as much as we do,” Becky adds. “They are in this with us and that goes a long way when you’re sitting up late at night thinking.”

Along with participation and fundraising, the Young family takes a huge role in planning and execution of the ride: scouting the route, communicating with the venue and police support, passing out flyers, handling web posting, and outreach to local media.

Being involved in the ride is great for the Young family, says Becky. “It’s a good opportunity for Emily to set and achieve goals,” she says. Emily rode her furthest to date with a 12-mile ride on her new Catrike. Fundraising also helps the Youngs know that they are part of the solution — they are pushing the treatment and cure closer and closer to the finish line. The Youngs’ community is a huge part of that solution. “We have had so many friends get involved and touched by the spirit of FARA,” says Becky.

Families like the Youngs have assembled in six Ride Ataxia locations across the country to ride and raise awareness and funds for FA research. And in 2013 they reached some new milestones:

  • More people with ataxia cycled on adaptive equipment than ever before in the ride program 
  • We reached a new fundraising record of more than $220,000 for a single ride in Philadelphia 
  • In 2013, the Ride Program raised over $660,000 (gross)! 

None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of our FA families, presenting sponsor Outback Steakhouse, and the hundreds of volunteers. We hope you can join us for a Ride Ataxia event near you in 2014 — Ride to Cure FA!

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