Sun City resident to cycle 270 miles around Huntley to support ALS research while social distancing

  • Bob Higgins at the top of John Street in Greenwich, Connecticut at the finish of the 2019 Tri-State Trek.

    Bob Higgins at the top of John Street in Greenwich, Connecticut at the finish of the 2019 Tri-State Trek. Courtesy of George Steimetz

 
Submitted by Meghan Lawlor and Robert Higgins
Updated 5/11/2020 11:55 PM

Bob Higgins, 68, a three-year resident of Sun City Huntley, has pledged to cycle 270 miles in and around the Huntley area over a three-day period next month in an effort to eradicate the dreaded disease known as ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).

The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), the world's foremost drug discovery lab focused solely on finding treatments for ALS, has announced that they are pivoting their annual Tri-State Trek into a new virtual event, the My-State Trek.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The My-State Trek invites community members to ride, wherever they are, to support ALS TDI's mission and raise funds for critical ALS research. With the new My-State Trek virtual format, ALS TDI is hoping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while also opening the event up to an even larger audience and raising money to fund end ALS.

Higgins rides as a member of Team Bannon -- Crush ALS. Team Bannon, in its 11-year history has raised in excess of $1,000,000 in private donations for ALS research. "I am honored and privileged to ride on this team with such a fine group of dedicated people."

Team Bannon, founded in 2009, derives its name from Chuck Bannon, the late brother of team captains Lisa and Breen Bannon. Chuck Bannon died of ALS in 2009 at the age of 44 after a three-year battle.

Now, more than ever, these funds are urgently needed. As a nonprofit biotech, ALS TDI relies on the support the community to continue their cutting-edge research. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, individual donations are down significantly, and many of the events that the organization relies on to fund their work are being canceled due to the need to socially distance. The impact is real, and the need is urgent. For this reason, ALS TDI is encouraging anyone who is able, to participate in fundraising as part of the My-State Trek.

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"Most people with ALS only live three-to-five years after experiencing their first signs of the disease, so fundraising for research is crucial. ALS is not an incurable disease, it's an underfunded one," said Steven Perrin, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of the ALS Therapy Development Institute. "The new My-State Trek brings together the ALS community not just in the Northeast, but from across the country, to join ALS TDI in our mission to end ALS."

This will be Higgins' sixth consecutive Trek. The annual Tri-State Trek, which was scheduled for June 19-21, is a three-day, 270-mile bike from Boston, MA to Greenwich, CT, and is one of the organizations largest fundraisers, attracting over 450 participants last year. The event has raised over $9 million to date for research at the ALS Therapy Development Institute, and ALS TDI is hoping that the My-State Trek will be equally successful this year. Though the event will be virtual, ALS TDI has plans and tools in place to ensure that the community remains connected and able to share their progress and motivation to end ALS.

"The format has changed this year, but the mission remains the same, end ALS," said Carol Hamilton, Development Director at ALS TDI. "Many participants have a direct connection to the disease and are riding for loved ones who are battling or have lost the battle to ALS -- some riders are even battling the disease themselves."

Participants have from now until June 21 to complete their selected mileage at their own pace. It does not matter if you complete your goal in days, weeks or months. Because of this, there is now a new opportunity for anyone, anywhere to get involved in helping to end ALS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Registration for the My-State Trek is open now. To register for the 2020 My-State Trek go to www.tristatetrek.com.

About the ALS Therapy Development Institute

The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) and its researchers discover and develop potential treatments for ALS. It is the world's first and largest nonprofit biotech focused 100 percent on ALS research. Led by drug development experts and people with ALS, ALS TDI understands the urgent need to slow and stop this disease.

Based in Cambridge, MA, ALS TDI has more than 30 full-time, industry trained, drug development experts on staff. ALS TDI is internationally recognized as a leader in preclinical and translational ALS research, and partners with pharmaceutical companies and biotech organizations all around the world. Rated a four-star nonprofit on Charity Navigator, ALS TDI spends 87 cents of every dollar raised on finding effective treatments and cures for ALS. Visit www.als.net for more information.

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