MELROSE (CBS) – A Melrose man is on an epic journey, cycling across the country to raise awareness and money to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Mike Henry has called this trip his ‘Longest Summer’ as a nod to the Alzheimer’s Association’s ‘Longest Day’ which raises money on the first day of summer.READ MORE: 9 Injured At Back Bay MBTA Station In Escalator 'Incident'
For Henry, it’s a 4,230 mile ride from Oregon to Virginia. He started pedaling on July 1st and made some planned and unplanned stops along the way – staying at hostels, churches, campsites and the occasional family or friend’s house along his route.
After a month on the road, Henry made it to Colorado, where he enjoyed a few days off and met up with family. They all know why Henry decided to take on this challenge, their mother passed away from the disease.
“My mom was really the moral compass of our family,” explained Henry. “She really was all about family. Loved her siblings, her parents, her husband, her children. And it was really rough seeing her slowly decline.”READ MORE: Olympian Elizabeth Beisel Becomes First Woman To Swim From Mainland Rhode Island To Block Island
Henry’s father had the financial wherewithal to make arrangements so his mother could get the care she needed. While it was emotional to watch his mom slip away, Henry says it can be so much harder on families who can’t pay for the care their loved ones need.
So that is why Henry decided to pack up his bike and get moving with the goal of raising $50,000 by the end of August.
He has already biked through some of the toughest mountain passes in the country, dealt with flat tires, the heat, lots of bugs and the loneliness on the road. But his ultimate goal of helping families keeps pushing him forward. He said none of the challenges compare to what this devastating disease puts families through.
“I have to say that whenever things really get rough, I think of those people who are caregivers for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and they are really my inspiration. They really, what they give up and the love they show those suffering from Alzheimer’s is really inspiring to me.”MORE NEWS: Worcester Man Hospitalized After Crashing ATV Into Woods In Cambridge, NH
CLICK HERE to make a donation and help Mike Henry reach his $50,000 goal.