Another RideATAXIA is in the books for Team Kendall – and what a fun event it was! We had a great turn-out at the ride and made a lot of new friends in the FA community.
RideATAXIA has become very important to me, personally, because it is a good avenue to channel my energy when Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) is on my mind. It gives me such hope that there is a huge, nation-wide effort to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for FA!
Last year, FA was still new to my family and I. I was diagnosed in August and the ride was in March, so we had really only had 7 months to digest the news and rally for the ride. We were trying to learn as much as we could about FA and share our findings with our networks. While we are still dealing with the emotions that come along with a diagnosis like FA, we are now focused more on a hope for the future.
I love being involved in RideATAXIA because it is an event that I can participate in alongside my friends, family and fellow FA community. I was beyond blessed to have an incredible network of friends and family who kept asking “what can I do to help?” The ride was a great answer!
Team Kendall ended up raising $52,463!! That made us the top fundraiser again. Actually, we were told that this was the most raised by any team EVER! Wow!!! I can’t begin to express how this makes me feel. I don’t think I could say thank-you to everyone enough times to truly express my sincere gratitude. Since my diagnosis in August 2013, Team Kendall has raised a total of $90,823!!
We were blown away by the generosity of friends and family. People who contributed last year generously donated again, and we also received donations from new friends! What a humbling feeling to see the support shown to me and my fellow FA community.
Once again, the actual ride exceeded all of my expectations. It was such a wonderful, positive, beautiful, supportive environment. I did the 6-mile ride with about half of my team, while the other half rode in the 25-mile ride. We had one brave rider tackle the 50-mile course!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful partnership of Outback Steakhouse again. I have never seen such a positive and welcoming group of volunteers. They were all so kind and enthusiastic while greeting us at the event and serving all of the riders an awesome lunch! What a blessing to have a partner like Outback!
I also got to meet the representatives of Reata Pharmaceuticals. Reata is championing our cause and advancing an extremely promising clinical trial to the final stages. To read more about Reata, check out my blog post here.
The good news is we already know EXACTLY what causes FA. Now we just need the support to go find a way to treat the symptoms and CURE FA! Every single penny gets us one step closer and we, as an FA community, are so thankful for all of the support shown to us. As a rare disease, it is hard to get a lot of attention from big pharmaceutical companies and supporters, so we are thankful for all the support gained from grassroots efforts.
All in all, it was a great weekend surrounded by friends and family. To see more photos from the ride, check out our Facebook album here!
The 6-mile ride crew, ready for action!
Kyle and I with our adorable new mascot, Brooks! (5.5 months old)
Part of the 25-mile ride crew, ready to start!
Me and Dad (David)
Our good friends from Katy, Texas!
Part of the 25-mile crew after the ride!
My sweet grandmothers, Nana (Joyce) and Mimi (Janet)
Me and Kyle with our dear friends from college, the Gentrys!