Cyclists ride through Raleigh park to raise money for Alzheimer’s research

Riders biking to raise money for Alzheimer's research (Beairshelle Edmé/CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Cyclists breezed through Anderson Point Park on Saturday as part of a big day for the Alzheimer’s Association.

The group’s annual major event is held on or around the Summer Solstice, which marks the start of Summer and the longest day of the year.

Alzheimer’s Association appropriately named the annual event, “The Longest Day,” and it’s when the group and its advocates work to raise funds and awareness about the debilitating neurological disease that causes severe memory loss.

A local advocate for a cure, Henry Edmonds decided to bring together both his passions – bike-riding and research for the disorder.

Edmonds works at Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Duke University Medical Center and is a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association. He organized both groups to start “Alzheimer’s Longest Day Ride” in Raleigh on the Neuse River Trail.

He told CBS North Carolina that awareness is “…what it’s all about. If we could just get the word out about Alzheimer’s disease the needs for– raising funds for Alzheimer’s [then it’s a start].”

Many of those in the Triangle affected by the disease participated in Saturday’s events, including Mary Kennedy whose father died of the illness in July 2011.

“It just seems like in the last five years more so that more people are telling me that they know someone, whether it be a family member or a neighbor or a friend, that has just been diagnosed with it,” Kennedy said. “I think it’s definitely getting more recognition.”

Megan Kramer agrees and recounted her grandfather’s journey with the fateful disease.

“When he got sick there really- it was definitely a known disease, but not a lot of people were talking about it,” she recalled. “He would have been really proud and really excited that it’s something that we’re all talking about now and raising money towards.”

By early afternoon, Edmonds estimates nearly $5,000 was raised for finding a cure.

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