The ride was a great success with 555 registered cyclists and over $170,000 raised to support FARA's mission- to treat and cure FA through research advancement. This is our biggest turnout to date and it sets the stage for a record setting year for participation and fundraising with Ride Ataxia!
The wind was tough but it was a beautiful day for a ride. Twelve of our FA families joined us from, Oklahoma, Michigan, Oregon, Florida and neighboring towns in Texas, on bikes and trikes- marking the day as one of camaraderie and personal triumph.
FARA is grateful to Outback Steakhouse for making Ride Ataxia Dallas a truly great event. FARA is convinced that finding a cure requires collaboration from many different partners. Outback's steadfast partnership has allowed FARA to direct more funds to research than ever before. This year for the Dallas ride the Outback Steakhouse midwest region donated tips, held fundraising contests, and got creative with a result of a check for $124,500 for FA research. We can't thank Outback enough for their undying support!
A few days before the ride began, we were featured in a Local newspaper; the Lewisville Leader. Check out the article here.
The day of the ride was beautiful! It was sunny and warm with a little windy. Crowds of cyclists showed up at registration at 7am. A line formed but our volunteers kicked it into high gear and took care of the registration process in time to start the ride on time at 830.
The 50 mile riders took off first at 830am in staggered groups of 50 to 70 riders, spaced 10 minutes apart. This was a safety measure to avoid sending a group of 200 riders onto the roads all at the same time. It was overwhelming to see that many riders out to support the cause.
The 25 mile ride took off at 915 in the same fashion with slightly less participants. The 6 mile route took off at 1030am. The 6 mile route included some of our top fundraisers including the Newman family and the Dewitt family.
Out on the course the riders battled wind and tricky turns. They stopped at three rest stops along the way; two of them were provided by Outback Steakhouse and featured Steak, Shrimp, and Ribs! Wow, we were treated like Kings!
After the ride we all gathered at the amphitheater to enjoy a little music and dancing provided by our volunteer DJ's and our youngsters. The post ride celebration also included great Outback Steakhouse food and activities for the kids.
Toward the end of the afternoon we invited one of our funded researchers to come down and share his experience with the crowd. Dr. Marek Napierala is originally from Poland and has been working on FA research in Houston (formerly at Texas A&M presently at MD Anderson) for several years. In 2005 Marek was the recipient of FARA's New Investigator Award for his research on a high throughput drug screen and in 2009 Marek received the Kyle Bryant Translational Research Award to continue this research. During his talk, Marek illustrated the power of FARA. Marek said there are thousands of scientific research papers about Ataxia. About 2/3 of them are on FA, so there is a lot of research and knowledge about this disease. Marek reads all these papers and he always takes a peak at the acknowledgements. He noted that FARA is listed as a funder in the acknowledgements more often than not. Marek used this illustration to make the point that FARA is the leader in FA research advancement and FARA has pushed the field along at a very fast pace. We cannot thank Marek enough for his hard work, his brilliant mind, and his commitment to FA research!
Our first ride in Dallas was an amazing, successful, rewarding experience! We learned a lot about how to accommodate more riders as we grow bigger and bigger. We will use this knowledge as we plan for next year! We'll see you then!
Next Ride: Ride Ataxia NorCal, May 14, 2011
See more pictures, videos and links on the Ride Ataxia Facebook Page.