Local News

July 20, 2007

Bikers ride for Alzheimer's awareness

WEST PLATTSBURGH "" Last year, 160 bikers participated in the first Ride to Remember and just as many non-bikers enjoyed the jamboree that followed.

The fundraiser brought in $8,000 for the Northeastern New York Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center.

"I was very touched by the number of people who attended, and it made me feel great," said Kathleen Freeman, who organized the motorcycle event with her sisters, Colleen West and Tricia Liberty. "It made me think maybe we were helping other families that have family members with the disease."

The Ride to Remember hits the road again this Saturday, hosted by American Legion Post 1619 on Rand Hill Road in West Plattsburgh.

Registration for the motorcycle ride through the Adirondacks begins at 9 a.m.

Riders will return to the Legion grounds at about 12:30 p.m. An auction will follow, with live music from Bootleg, Krisis and Redneck Aliens throughout the afternoon. Food, raffles and 50/50s round out the day, which is open to anyone, not just bikers.

Cost is $10 per person for the ride or jamboree.

Freeman's mother, Barbara Tobin, suffered from dementia for eight years prior to her death in 2005.

She and her sisters know firsthand that the disease "" whether Alzheimer's or another of many forms "" doesn't just impact the person who has it.

"The families who care for these people in their home, some need 24/7 care. And it takes a lot out of people," Freeman said. "We want them to know that they are not alone, and there are programs locally that can help them and their families get through this."

"The families are in constant state of stress, because of the loss that is happening right before their eyes," said Dr. Taher Zandi, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center. "(They) are suffering as much as the person does. The length of the disease is also something that taxes the family members, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 years of caregiving and agony they have to deal with."

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