Cycling for a cause: Pedaling the Parkway for Parkinson’s

EASY RIDER: Timothy Riesz rides on the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia during the Love Of Bill Tour in 2015. Photo by Theodore Riesz
EASY RIDER: Timothy Riesz rides on the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia during the Love Of Bill Tour in 2015. Photo by Theodore Riesz

Timothy Riesz is taking it into his own hands, and handlebars, to raise funds for Parkinson’s disease research in an event he has dubbed Pedaling the Parkway for Parkinson’s. Over six consecutive days, from Tuesday, June 20, through Sunday, June 25, Riesz will tackle 469.1 miles of the winding Blue Ridge Parkway, and 48,601 feet of total elevation gain. His journey begins in Afton, Va., and ends in Cherokee, N.C. He is slated to momentarily hit the brakes in Asheville for an overnight halt on Saturday, June 24.

“I have decided to take a stand by embarking on a cycling adventure to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease and the need for extensive research, which will eventually lead to a cure for this devastating disease. I want to do my part to ensure that this disease is eradicated so that no other loved ones have to confront and adapt to this disease’s challenges,” Riesz says on the event’s fundraising page, hosted by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

This isn’t the first time Riesz has put his tires to the pavement for a cause. In 2015, Riesz completed a fundraiser called The Love of Bill Tour, in which he biked over 2,600 miles across America, from Newport Beach, Calif., to Tybee Island, Ga. Riesz raised $19,577 for The Lustgarten Foundation to help fund pancreatic cancer research in memory of his late uncle, Bill Johnson.

Riesz is also a 23-year repeat participant in Bike MS: City to Shore Ride, an annual two-day cycling fundraising effort concluding in Ocean City, N.J., which raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Riesz plans to join in the 2017 fundraiser in September.

Reisz is passionate about Parkinson’s research, as he has two aunts living with the disease. Erica Mielcarek, Reisz’s spouse and ride director, says, “This ride is dedicated to two of his aunts, Jody and Kathy, who have been diagnosed with this challenging disease. He is riding to foster awareness and raise money for Parkinson’s disease research. He has the time, ability, willingness and dedication to complete this epic challenge not only for himself but also for his aunts and the rest of his family.”

Riesz is calling for support through a tax-deductible donation to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. A goal of $10,000 is set, with $3,400 raised so far. Riesz is hosting his fundraiser as part of the Team Fox fundraising initiative. According to the foundation, “Team Fox is the grassroots community fundraising program at The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Each year, thousands of Team Fox members worldwide turn their passions and interests into unique fundraising events and athletic feats. To date, our members have raised over $55 million for Parkinson’s research. You too can make a difference.

“Your generous donation will help give Parkinson’s disease patients a fighting chance,” says Riesz. “With your support today, 100 percent of Team Fox proceeds go straight to [the foundation] research programs.”

To learn more or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit:

facebook.com/PedalingTheParkwayForParkinsons

fundraise.michaeljfox.org/PedalingTheParkway

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About Jacqui Castle
Jacqui Castle is a freelance writer who began contributing to Mountain Xpress in 2014. When she is not writing, she is living it up in the Fairview mountains with her family of four.

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