10 years ago this August, my dad, Don MacLeod, lost his fight for life to complications from Alzheimer’s. I miss my Dad very much. He endured a seven-year progression with this disease, and we went through seeing him change and loose his sense of self and family. I especially remember the day my Dad couldn’t remember my Mom’s name, who had passed away several years earlier. It was a heart breaking experience — made more manageable by some very dedicated professionals helping us make decisions for treatments and life changes to help my Dad sustain a level of dignity and quality of life for as long as possible.
When I was made aware of the Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day™ event, I thought what a cool way to have a reason to ride my bike all day and honor my Dad at the same time. As my co-captain and I talked more about the idea, we got more and more excited to get a team together and pull off a special day for as many people as possible. We decided to create a bike relay based along a very popular riding route here in Minnesota.
Without too much effort, 30 people (and one dog) signed up to ride, run or roller blade from 5:30 in the morning to 9:00 at night. We even have some riders we don’t even know that have joined the team because they feel that strongly about the cause and want to help.
Our team has raised over $1600 so far, through the generosity and kindness of family, friends and work mates that seem to understand our passion for this whole deal. It’s been a very exciting and inspiring journey!
I remember my Dad being very involved with certain charitable causes he felt really strongly about. He lead entire community campaigns that contributed money to all kinds of projects. I guess it must be in my blood. I’m pretty sure he would be spinning along with me on the road today if he could.
Those that know me know that I love an outdoor adventure of just about any sort, but this one is different. I’m doing this to honor my Dad.
Cliff MacLeod is a pure Midwesterner who loves just about any outdoor activity he can make time for. Cliff’s and his wife of 29 years, Val are the very proud parents of two grown children. Cliff has been a retail merchant his entire career and is currently Vice President of Merchandising for Bluestem Brands Inc. He is also active in his local church community, and serves on the board and is an active volunteer for a nonprofit organization called A Better Society (ABS). One of the projects ABS manages is called Life-Cycle, giving out 100s of donated bikes each year to Twin Cities area families. This group is the nucleus of Cliff’s team riding in the Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day™ , a sunrise-to-sunset relay to raise awareness and funds for the fight against Alzheimer’s. Click here to follow Cliff and Team Team Life-Cycle during this 16-hour event.