CEO on 6,500-mile charity bike ride stops at 'special spot' in Barrington
Cincinnati business executive Joe Motz made NeuroBalance Center in Barrington a stop Wednesday on his 6,500-mile bicycle trip around the country to raise $650,000 to help those with Parkinson's disease.
Motz began his Gearing Up for Good effort when he departed his Cincinnati-area home Aug. 2, four days before his 65th birthday. He's on sabbatical for 90 days from his job as CEO of his namesake Motz Corp., which serves the natural and synthetic turf markets.
He'll hit the road again Thursday on his hybrid bike after spending the evening in a Barrington home. Motz hopes to average 85 miles a day, stopping to rest at night by stringing a hammock between trees for "wild camping."
Barrington landed on Motz's itinerary through his reading the book "Halftime: Moving From Success to Significance." The book included the story of village resident Bob Lee's cross-country bike trips called "Ride for 3 Reasons" to raise money for ALS research, cancer treatment programs and hospice care.
Motz said he telephoned Lee and later met him in person. Those visits led to Motz's learning about nonprofit NeuroBalance, which has exercise equipment and programs geared for people with physical challenges due to multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's and other conditions.
"So, the NeuroBalance Center is a special spot on the trip," Motz said shortly after rolling into the parking lot. "It's a place that's one of a kind in the country. It very much inspired me based on Joy Wagner's program of exercise and mindfulness and teaching kitchen."
Wagner, who co-founded NeuroBalance in 2011, and Jennifer Smith of Arlington Heights, a client and board member, rode their bikes with Motz into the facility. Another NeuroBalance client, Jeff Anderson, accompanied Smith to join Motz in Arlington Heights but was forced to end early after striking a large pothole near Harper College in Palatine.
Motz and Jimmy Choi of Bolingbrook, a contestant on "American Ninja Warrior" who was just 27 when diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2003, were the featured speakers before about 75 spectators at Wednesday's program that included tours of NeuroBalance. Choi stressed how "exercise, exercise, exercise" has helped him cope with Parkinson's.
After Barrington, Motz will head to North Dakota, then southwest to Los Angeles. He'll then travel south to San Diego and go east through Houston before eventually parking his bike back in Cincinnati.
Motz said the $650,000 he plans to raise all will go to support a joint pilot program planned by the University of Cincinnati Center for Integrative Health and Wellness and the school's Gardner Neuroscience Institute. The program will use exercise, mindful relaxation and diet to reduce physical symptoms for Parkinson's patients.
Motz decided to challenge himself with the ride, in part, because several of his employees have loved ones coping with Parkinson's, a nervous system disorder that causes tremors, rigid limbs and gait and balance problems.
Wagner was a pediatric nurse when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001 and saw a need to have an exercise facility specifically for those with conditions affecting their mobility, balance, strength, gait, coordination and speech.
"They're sort patterning it after us," Wagner said of the University of Cincinnati project. "And I'm hoping that this (NeuroBalance) maybe was No. 1 and they'll be No. 2 and we'll learn from each other. And then there will be more and more communities that put up centers like this, because there's about 20% of your community that you're not serving with regular health clubs."
To learn more about Motz's ride or support the cause, visit gearingupforgood.org.