ALTOONA, Pa –Kevin Lockwood is embarking on his fourth Alzheimer’s Association Longest Day ride, traveling over 320 miles across Pennsylvania on his bike.
The Longest Day is an event with the Alzheimer’s Association where participants raise funds and bring awareness to the disease by doing an activity. More than six million people in the country currently live with the disease.
He started participating in the event in 2019 when he took a shorter bike ride. He now trains all year round to ensure his brain and body fully function.
“When I discovered how easy it is to do it, how easy it is to get involved, I thought this was the perfect opportunity for me,” Lockwood said. “I made that commitment to do it each year, and that’s how I got involved.”
Lockwood rides yearly for his mother, who died from the disease in 2014. It became one of his missions to continue to learn about the condition and help fund research and a cure.
This year’s ride, he started in Pittsburgh and will end his journey out in Archbald. Throughout his ride, he plans to meet with multiple bikers who will continue the ride with him.
The Alzheimer’s Association said they appreciate Lockwood’s hard work in the cause. Development Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association for Greater PA, Nathaniel Sofranko, described Lockwood as someone who is driven and wants to continue the fight.
“He is driven by his personal story, honoring his mother, and just wanting to do the best he can for him and his children,” Sofranko said.
His team “Hammer Alzs” have raised $42,000 in the four years they’ve been involved. The goal for 2022 was to raise $15,000, and he has surpassed the amount.
Lockwood said that the biggest challenge in his ride was the heat from Thursday. However, he understands that his challenge doesn’t compare to the challenges that caregivers or people with the disease endure.
“I get to get up every morning and hug my kids and my wife, and I remember who they are,” Lockwood said. “Some people can’t. So heat, weather, who cares, this is the bigger picture.”
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Sofranko said that more people are becoming aware of the disease through his ride and campaigning. Sofranko added that the research for the disease is expected to grow within the next 12-18 months. He said that groundwork is being done to find more drugs to treat the condition and blood tests to detect the disease early.
“He’s very humble and never expects anything or as much support as he has,” Lockwood said. “But with how much it’s grown, he also realizes how many people have been affected by this disease.”
Lockwood added that he does his ride to bring awareness and let people know that support is always there. The Alzheimer’s Association has a 24/7 support line.
“Frankly, this is what the Alzheimer’s Association, their walk, the longest day does; it gives people hope,” Lockwood said. “That we will find a cure for it. That’s why I do what I do.”
Lockwood plans to finish his ride Saturday in Lackawanna County. For those who want to donate to Lockwood’s team, click here.