Rhoads Hits The Road For Alzheimer's
AMES, Iowa – It’s only mid-June, but there was plenty of action at Jack Trice Stadium this afternoon. The sound emanating from the stadium was the roar of over 500 motorcycles participating in the fourth annual Ride to Remember, an event benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.
A familiar face to Cyclone fans was yet again the leader of this wonderful event. His name is Paul Rhoads, and he’s the head football coach at Iowa State University.
Rhoads proudly rode his nearly two-year-old Harley-Davidson on the 80-mile route. He was there before and after the ride shaking hands and meeting with the participants.
It’s easy to see why this event is so special to Rhoads. In 2011, Rhoads lost his mother, Mary, to Alzheimer’s disease, a neurological disorder that is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
Witnessing the crippling effects of Alzheimer’s disease first hand, Rhoads became a staunch advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association. His love of motorcycles then led to the initiation of the Ride to Remember.
His helping hand hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Coach Rhoads has been instrumental in raising concern and awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and the Alzheimer’s Association,” said Kay Rader, Development Director for the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Iowa Chapter. “People put a face with his name and realize they aren't alone in dealing with a loved one who may be going through the disease. Because of his role as a football coach of a major university, people listen. His love for his mother, Mary, shines through every time he speaks of her. His personality and passion makes the disease real and makes people want to pay attention.”
Judging from the attendance at the post-ride barbeque, the 2013 Ride to Remember was another monumental success. Rhoads has seen the event grow from 60 riders in its first year to over 500 participants today. He couldn’t have been more proud.
“Every single person here has a story about this disease,” Rhoads said. “It’s an ugly disease that’s met no foe yet and that’s why we are here today. You can’t put into words how excited I am to see this event become this big. I am very appreciative of the groundswell of support for this event. There weren’t very many of us on that first ride and now it’s one impressive sight to see all of these bikes here today. But, it’s more impressive to hear people get emotional about what this disease means to so many people.”