Sunday September 23, 2018
24th Annual Fund Raiser for ALS...from Positive Spin for ALS to Ride To Defeat ALS
Ashley Corbin, Special Events Manager Extraordinaire for the ALS Association MA Chapter, does the count down for the 25 mile Pete's Ride. Pete Farricker was a member of the 1982 World Champion Rude Boys Frisbee Team. Pete's joyous sense of team, community, competition and fierce but overwhelmingly fair demeanor was the embodiment of Ultimate Frisbee's Spirit of the Game. https://www.usaultimate.org/about/ultimate/spirit_of_the_game.aspx and https://www.usaultimate.org/spiritawards/#farricker
His teammates rallied around him when he was diagnosed with ALS in 1999. Pete died from the disease. His spirit did not. Their dedication lives on every year through the Spirit Rides held around the country https://www.spiritride.org/index.cfm The Spirit Ride is now also in memory of another Ultimate Frisbee legend, Kathy Pufhal. The Spirit Rides raise serious money for the ALS Association MA Chapter and for Cancer Research.
The most successful ride yet, staged from The Longfellow Tennis and Health Club in Wayland ...raised over $230,000 with 270 riders on the 25, 50, and 75 mile routes in and around the Wayland, MA area. A radio operator spent the entire day monitoring communications between water stops and SAG wagons along each route. Every rider was accounted for!
Six men and women coping with ALS were present (more than at any previous ride), two of them with huge retinues of riders and supporters...
Welchie's Team (John Welch in green cap) was a rolling green wave of support on the road and on the ground. "Some of my riders didn't know how to adjust the valve so they could pump up their tires!" John said cheerfully. Good for showing them how, John!
Riders, teams and patients relax...
and wait to cheer team members as they finish the ride...
Hot and cold food, fruit, ice cream, snacks for all, donated by local businesses. Even a cold beer at the end of a long ride!
Executive Director of MA Chapter ALS Association Lyn Aronson and Channel 5 TV personality Cindy Fitzgibbin get ready for final announcements.
Apple employee Steve gave stirring and uplifting remarks as hundreds gathered after riders had finished. "Apple not only matches donations made by employees, but right now they are doing a double match – for example, Steve made a $1000 donation to his team, and Apple sent a matching gift of $2000. In addition, they donate money per hour for any employee who volunteers at an event, and with the amount of employees that were there volunteering and riding, they are getting $1500 donated to the ride!" said Ashley Corbin, the Special Events Manager.
Steve Mooney, alumnus of the 1982 World Champion Rude Boys Ultimate Frisbee Team, MA Chapter ALS Association Executive Director Lyn Aronson with Myke Farricker, co-owner of the Longfellow Tennis & Health Club. Members of the Rude Boys team show up every year to support the event, sort of a mini reunion, and donate thousands of dollars to the ride.
PT, Myke and photo bomber Ashley Corbin
This was one of the most seamlessly coordinated rides I've ever witnessed. Individual riders, teams of riders, and people who showed up to support the ride were met by volunteers who welcomed and checked in riders, answered questions, handed out T-shirts, served food and beverages. There was an air of certainty surrounding the event. As Patriots coach Bill Belichick would say, "Everyone did their job."
I organized my solo Plymouth Rock to Provincetown "Positive Spin for ALS" from 1995 - 2004 for ONE rider, myself. I spent months preparing for it every year. I cannot imagine the time and skill it takes to pull off something like the Ride To Defeat ALS. It took me ten years to raise $300,000. Today's riders raised almost that much in eight hours!
Organizing for over 200 riders is the tip of the iceberg. Planning meetings, recruiting reliable volunteers, assigning them to jobs, printing road signs, buying supplies for water stops, printing route maps or making Apps for riders to use on the road, asking vendors to supply food and drink, hiring a DJ, enlisting a TV personality to put the ride on the media map...I could go on. Event coordinator Ashley Corbin was the coolest cucumber at Longfellow all day long. Unflappable. As a former member the Board of Directors of the MA Chapter ALS Association, I fully realize the value, in terms of fund raising, positive infectious spirit, and creative thinking, Ashley brings to bear. She's a gem of an asset to the MA Chapter ALS Association.
Events like this are bittersweet. ALS has no cure. That's why we are here...with resolve in the face of daunting odds, to control what we can, fight grief with with action, and keep moving forward. Having the event work so sure-footedly is a blessing.
Speaking of photo bombers, there's Mr. Jonathan, the fabulous DJ who skillfully read the crowd and provided songs to fit every mood of the day, behind us. And the Elite Wheels Team T shirts, sponsored by the Zarb Corporation...to be explained in a later post.
Photos mostly by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.