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Pedal for Pat Exceeds Fundraising Goal and Increases Awareness About Alzheimer’s Disease

KNOXVILLE, TN–When senior living visionary Joshua Crisp first came up with the idea, it seemed like a daunting task. He planned to become a cyclist and lead a team riding 1,098 miles over 11 days from Tennessee to Florida to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s in honor of Pat Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history with a total of 1,098 wins. Summitt was diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of 59 and passed away last year after a five-year battle with the disease.

Not only did the eight-person team–The Summitt Cyclists–ride on average 100 miles a day, but they exceeded fundraising expectations and raised more than $150,000. University of Tennessee Lady Vol basketball Hall of Famer Michelle Brooke-Marciniak co-chaired the cycling event with Crisp, who is the founder, president and CEO of Solinity, a senior living owner/operator.

The team will donate the funds raised to The Pat Summitt Foundation, a nonprofit organization which helps fund The Pat Summitt Clinic at The University of Tennessee Medical Center focused on patient care, caregiver support and clinical research–all to assist families and seniors facing Alzheimer’s disease.

“I wanted to start a movement to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s by accomplishing a tremendous goal. Although it was physically and mentally challenging to wake up every morning and get on the bike again and again for 11 days straight, I am thrilled that we succeeded and exceeded our goal,” said Crisp.

“This initiative turned into a significant event and became bigger than I ever thought. Our initial plan was to finish the 1,098-mile ride in 12 days, but due to the weather we pushed ourselves even harder and finished in 11 days. We had significant support at each stop along the way, and we couldn’t have done this without the greater community believing in us and cheering us on each day. Through our actions and commitment I hope we demonstrated the power of a healthy lifestyle, which is the only lifestyle factor shown to have the potential to prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s and slow the progression of the disease.”

The ride started at the Pat Summitt Plaza on the University of Tennessee campus and ended in Key West, FL. A host of volunteers assisted with fundraising, media communications, website development, social media, logistics and support.

The Summitt Cylists included Joshua Crisp; Michelle Brooke-Marciniak, co-chair, University of Tennessee Lady Vol basketball Hall of Famer, co-founder and Co-CEO of SHEEX; “Ginny” Gilder, former competitive rower and Olympic silver medalist and co-owner of WNBA team Seattle Storm; Mike Young, retired entrepreneur; Pam Bettis-Tanner, former basketball athlete and coach, and breast cancer survivor; Brandon “Monk” Feehery, Crit Life pro cyclist; Jon Crowson, cyclist racer, operations manager at Nox Composites; and Mark Bottom, retired military, retired law enforcement, and current high school basketball coach and teacher. A total of 12 additional “day riders” joined for one or more days along the route.

“I would like to thank everyone who participated and supported us, including riders, sponsors, the community, and everyone who followed our progress on social media,” said Crisp. “This was a successful fundraiser, and we plan to make this an annual event. In addition, we are coordinating various shorter day-rides which will also raise funds for the The Pat Summitt Foundation in the future and educate the public about Alzheimer’s disease.”

“We are deeply moved by the commitment of Josh, Michelle and everyone else who participated, and we are honored that this event is helping us support the many families living with this disease,” said Patrick Wade, executive director of The Pat Summitt Foundation. “Our mission is to make a significant difference in the lives of seniors and caregivers and to fund research seeking treatment and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Events like these make a tremendous difference. Proceeds from this unique fundraiser help support The Pat Summitt Clinic, which was formed through a partnership between The Pat Summitt Foundation and The University of Tennessee Medical Center,” said Wade. “The clinic greatly improves patient access to health care services in a facility created to advance Alzheimer’s research, detection, treatment, family caregiver support, and ultimately lead to a cure. We are thrilled that this group helped us shine a light on Alzheimer’s disease across the country, and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”