WKU students riding 3,600 miles for Alzheimer’s research

PADUCAH — Thirteen Western Kentucky University students rode into Paducah Monday during their trek across the United States. They are riding for the right reasons.

“You don’t think you can do another 2 miles. Then, you get on the bike and do another 20,” Jeremy Latham said. He’s a Paducah native.

It’s all an effort to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s disease research. Each student has been affected by the disease in some way. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and there is no cure.

The students cheered as they rode their bicycles over the Brookport bridge, knowing they get to stop for the night. Latham said they’ve gone 2,500 miles so far, having started in California in May.

Latham is riding for his grandmother, who has the disease. “I kind of watched her progress through the years,” he said. “A lot of these monumental things that happened in my life — like going to prom, graduating from high school, getting accepted into college — a lot of these incredible things that are very important to me and made me who I am today, she was there for all of it, but she no longer remembers any of it.”

Every day of the trip, they dedicate their ride to someone. It’s either someone they know or a dedication written in to their organization, Bike4Alz. People write in from across the nation. You can dedicate the ride here.

“Today was just the prospect of coming home, getting to see my mom, getting to sleep in my bed for the first time in a while,” Latham said. “But sometimes you read those dedicated days, and that keeps you going. Sometimes it’s just being around the people. Our team is incredible. You don’t want to let our guys down.”

At night, they were joined by supporters in the Local 6 area for a symbolic bike ride around a 3-mile track.

Their next stop is Clarksville, Tennessee. Their ride will end in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Latham said they’ve raised about 13,000 so far.

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