‘Passionate about finding a cure’: Local cyclist is nation’s top fundraiser at Alzheimer’s Association event
Local cyclist Cathy Anderson-Meyers says she will continue her efforts to fundraise for Alzheimer’s disease research for as long as she can ride a bike.
Her husband, Gene “Geno” Meyers, died in October 2018 at 69 years old, around seven years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“He was a father, a teacher, a track coach, a gold miner, an outdoorsman, an amazing lifelong runner, and my best friend,” Anderson-Meyers wrote in an email. “I am passionate about finding a cure for this cruel disease.”
Earlier this month, Anderson-Meyers traveled to Fort Collins, Colorado, to participate in a 20-mile bike ride, one of four courses comprising the Alzheimer’s Association’s Ride to End ALZ event.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a nonprofit based in Chicago, the event’s participants “raise funds and awareness to advance research toward the first survivor of Alzheimer’s,” and 100% of fundraising for the event goes directly to Alzheimer’s disease research.
“When you have someone who has Alzheimer’s, you want it to not be around for future generations,” said Anderson-Meyers on her motivation toward fundraising. “You want it to be gone. And that’s my passion right now, is just to be able through my cycling and by my enthusiasm for ending it, (to) raise money.”
Prior to the event in Colorado, said Anderson-Meyers, the Ride to End ALZ event kicked off virtually last year — with participants riding a given distance in their respective locations rather than in a mass gathering.
In March, she formed Team Geno, a grouping which allows for other participants, some local to Nevada County and others from out of state, to fundraise for the event together.
“For the April ride that we did here, we did it in the Chicago Park area because that’s where I live — we did lower Colfax and Orchard Springs — and we did 25.5 miles,” said Anderson-Meyers on a virtual ride this year in which 10 cyclists rode together at this location, two other Nevada County residents rode mountain bikes for a comparable distance separately, and two more joined in spirit from Spokane, Washington.
Anderson-Meyers said a significant boost to her fundraising compared to last year came from the added option to share her fundraising link, with its associated page containing information about Geno’s story, through Facebook.
When fundraising last year, she shared a donation link directly with people through email and text messaging.
“When my page gets shared to somebody else’s, there’s a whole other realm of people,” she said on the impact of Facebook on her fundraising process. “I get people I don’t even know who they are who donate.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, for the Colorado event, Anderson-Meyers is the top individual fundraiser in the nation at over $10,000 raised, and Team Geno is the top team at nearly $12,000, according to the event’s fundraising leaderboard.
‘YOU CONNECT WITH PEOPLE’
Cyclists came from all across the country to ride 20, 50, 70, or 100 miles at the Ride to End ALZ’s four courses in Colorado earlier this month.
“You … connect with people as you ride,” said Anderson-Meyers on meeting the other participants. “And the experience is amazing, because they all have stories so similar and so heart- and gut-wrenching about their loss.”
Although the Colorado event itself is over, Anderson-Meyers said Thursday that her goal was to continue raising money for the event. Organizers have informed her she would be awarded the travel expenses to participate in an upcoming Ride to End ALZ event to be held in Texas in October if she reached $10,000 raised by the end of July.
She said Friday that she had reached the $10,000 goal after two of her longtime friends donated the balance that was needed.
“Each one had a reason to donate,” Anderson-Meyers wrote in a message Friday regarding all donors to her fundraiser. “And every dollar is so very appreciated.”
Upon having reached this goal, she added, she has raised her fundraising goal to $11,000 as “one never knows what will happen from here.”
“If anybody wants to be on Team Geno, they can contact me and we’ll be riding in August here locally,” she said. “It’s just fun, we get together, we train together, and we have fun riding.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 helpline:
Alzheimer’s Outreach Program with the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation:
Call 530-274-6007, extension 5595; or visit https://supportsierranevada.org/aop
To get involved with Team Geno, contact Cathy Anderson-Meyers at: 530-277-8488
To donate to Anderson-Meyers’ fundraiser, visit:
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