Article about Friends For Phinney and my ride with them!

Ride raises awareness about Parkinson’s Disease

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 7th, 2013

DEL NORTE – Many may be familiar with movie and television star Michael J. Fox and his battle with Parkinson’s disease. Fox’s celebrity status has done much to elevate awareness about this debilitating disease. There are many others that work toward the same goal.

Davis Phinney is an Olympic medal winning cyclist diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2000 at the age of 40. He formed the Davis Phinney Foundation in 2004 with the goal of raising money to benefit patients and families afflicted with Parkinson’s. Since then, they have raised $3.8 million to improve the lives of those living with the disease.

The nonprofit foundation is: “committed to supporting programs and research that deliver inspiration, information and tools that will enable people living with Parkinson’s to take more control in managing their disease.”

Three friends of Phinney’s, who all went to school together in Boulder, Colo., got together recently to help raise money for the cause by committing to a cross-country bicycle ride.

Starting in Oceanside, Calif., Tom Casey, Rick Baker, Kevin Cartin and Cartin’s wife, Kathleen Donohue, will ride 3,273 miles to New York City, in 42 days.

On day 12 of their journey, July 31, the riders were joined by Carl Ames.

Ames drove with his family from Phoenix, Ariz., to meet the group in Durango, Colo., so he could ride the longest and hardest stage of the cross-country ride with them. It was over 10,856’ Wolf Creek Pass and more than 100 miles to the next stop in Del Norte.

Ames has Parkinson’s.

“I love to cycle, so I get involved with a lot of cycling events,” said Ames. “It helps me move better and feel better.”

Ames had never ridden 100 miles before.

“Carl’s nickname is “Bolt” because he just takes off down the road, and true to form, he took off and was soon about a half mile ahead of the rest of us,” said Kevin Cartin. “Carl was kicking my butt going up that pass, but he was having troubles with his legs, and had to stop several times.”

Cartin said he cried many times on the ride over Wolf Creek, but not because he was in pain. He said he cried, because Ames was working so hard to get to the top.

“The Davis Phinney Foundation’s mantra is to help and teach people to ‘Live Well Today’ with Parkinson’s, said Cartin. “Carl is a living example, and I’m very proud to have ridden with him.”

“Having Carl today was magnificent,” said Tom Casey. “What an inspiration! It is really cool that he could go that far.”

Casey said they are very thankful for everything that has happened so far and that the ride has gone so smoothly.

Michael Casey, Tom’s brother, said he drove the “Sag Wagon” along the route.

“Carl Ames is a class act in every sense of the word,” said Casey. “He is not embarrassed by his Parkinson’s disease in any way.”

Casey said Ames was very open about his symptoms of stuttering, his speech patterns and his shuffling walk.

“Carl was always in the lead and there was only one time when he fell behind, but he reeled it in and caught up,” said Casey. “I have never been more honored to be around a man of such integrity, character and spirit.”

“I didn’t know I would be so touched by the people I’ve met when I embarked on this journey,” said Cartin. “These people are ripping my chest open and grabbing my heart. They are so strong. They live with this disease 24/7, 365 days a year, and each day they get up and live well.”

The group of riders left on July 20 and plan on arriving in New York on Aug.30.

If you would like more information, or to donate to the foundation, go to:

Friends for Phinney c/o Davis Phinney Foundation, 1722 14th St., Suite 150 Boulder, CO 80302


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