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Volunteers Sought to Help Cyclists in ALS Ride

Release Date:
6/28/2012 3:00 PM
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University of New Haven: Tri-State Trek bikers, ALS Tri-State Trek cyclists

Volunteers are needed to cheer on and assist cyclists who will stop at UNH on Saturday, July 21, for the second overnight stay of the 10th annual three-day Tri-State Trek to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The 10th annual Tri-State Trek starts in Newton, Mass., on Friday, July 20. Cyclists will ride a total of 270 miles through 52 communities and finish on Sunday, July 22, in Greenwich, Conn. The cyclists are raising money and awareness for research into an effective treatment for ALS.

The riders are expected to arrive at UNH between noon and 4 p.m. on July 21. Students and residents are invited to come out to show their support by cheering on the riders as they come through town. “More cowbell!” the trek’s cheer since 2006 -- lets observers know that they don’t need to ride a bike to be a part of the effort. Cowbells have been used in cycling since the early 1900s, when Europeans would cheer on riders racing through the Pyrenees or up the Italian Alps.

Local volunteers can register to help with anything from setting up camp to serving food for the riders, who will spend the night in UNH residence halls.

Funds raised through the Tri-State Trek will support research at the ALS Therapy Development Institute in Cambridge, Mass. The institute is the world’s largest ALS research center.

For information on riding or volunteering, or to learn where to cheer along the route, visit the trek online at http://tst.als.net/.  

The Trek began in 2003, when 16 cyclists pedaled from Boston to New York and raised about $30k for ALS research. The event has since grown to 260 riders, raising more than $2.64 million.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to paralysis due to the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. There is no known cause and no effective treatment for the disease. The average patient survives only two to five years following diagnosis.

About 5,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year. There are about 30,000 U.S. citizens with the disease at any given time. The worldwide population of ALS patients is estimated at 400,000.