by June Kinoshita
During the month of June of this year, the FSHD community will enjoy the thrill of having one of its own lead an eight-person team in the Race Across America (RAAM), a bicycle race from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland. The team, recruited by George Pollock, plans to compete in the Open Relay Division. The team expects to complete the race in under seven days and cover more than 450 miles a day.
The team has a personal connection to the disease. Pollock has FSHD. He started to have muscle weakness in his lower right leg while in his late twenties. Ten years later, when he experienced muscle weakness in his left leg, he was finally diagnosed with FSHD. Fortunately for him, the disease is progressing slowly. He was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the FSH Society and has made a commitment to promote awareness to improve diagnosis, support patients, and raise money to fund the Society’s mission.
The Race Across America (www.raceacrossamerica.org) is one of the most respected and longest running sports events in the world. RAAM has a rich and storied history dating back to four individuals who raced from Santa Barbara to New York City in 1982. In 1992, relay teams were added and became the most popular and fastest growing segment of the race. In 2017, RAAM will celebrate 36 years of racing.
RAAM has had riders from five continents and 35 countries. In the last 10 years, the race has been used to promote awareness and fundraising for dozens of charities, and racers have raised more than $10 million. The race attracts significant media coverage around the world and can be followed live at www.ridefarther.com.
“There is no other race like it in the world,” says Pollock. “Our team is looking forward to participating in such an iconic event, and raising awareness for FSHD and the efforts to find a cure.”
Team FSHD Cycling has set a goal of raising $101,000 for the FSH Society, net of all expenses. Others are encouraged to support the epic effort. FSH Society Board member Amy Bekier has already taken up the banner and is planning a dinner in Oceanside, California, where the race starts, to celebrate Team FSHD Cycling and raise additional funds.
Please visit the FSH Society website for updates, and visit the Team FSHD Cycling website (www.fshdcycling.com) to find rider and race information and to support Team FSHD Cycling.
Note: Team FSHD Cycling is holding its 2017 Race Across America Campaign as independent volunteers, not as employees, agents, Board members, advisors, or volunteers of the FSH Society.