A team of 12 Western Kentucky University students made a cross country ride this spring and summer in honor of those they love. Of the 12 young men riding, six of them have a family member who is either currently living with Alzheimer’s, or has passed away because of it.
With a special great grandmother, grandfather, grandmother, great aunt and others in mind, these advocates clearly have a passion for their mission: biking 2,800 miles from Canada to Key West with a fundraising goal of $175,000 (the dollars go towards research for a cure).
Beyond the financial goal lies another dream: raising awareness and ending Alzheimer’s disease for good. Although Alzheimer’s is more of a household name than it used to be, many don’t fully recognize its impact, from the disastrous effects on the entire family unit to the staggering costs (financial and otherwise) exacted on the US and global economies. At least, not until it hits home.
The men rode for two months in 2010 as well, hosting events in major cities with opportunities for donation and advocacy. This year’s tour is following a similar path.
Learn more about the guys here:
We often write about stereotypes and myths on the blog, particularly those held or believed about seniors, so it’s refreshing to hear about the Bike 4 Alz team. We love hearing about people who are breaking down the false belief from the other side: that young people don’t care about issues like Alzheimer’s, or that young people don’t care about seniors. Quite the contrary: these young men are among many “grown-up grandchildren” (as our intergenerational Twitter friend @arthurandbernie calls them) who cherish their relationships with elder relatives; who value their friendship, love and support; and who are grateful to have these intergenerational connections in their lives.
We can learn so much from these students.
Do you value your intergenerational relationships? Whether or not they are grandparents doesn’t matter. Interacting with people of all ages is vitally important. It enriches our lives. I challenge you to make friends with an elder — or young person — today.