In 1997, Marie Nemec became aware of HD through meeting Carmen Leal, author of Faces of Huntington’s, on the Christian Writer’s Group list on the Internet. In June 1998, at Carmen’s invitation, Marie attended the 13th Annual HDSA Convention in Denver, CO. After this experience, she was deeply touched. Her Christian faith required action; “… let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). Marie and Charlotte met through a mutual friend, and the trio rode across America together in 1999. In 2008, Marie joined Charlotte as a “Bicycling Grandma,” with the birth of her first grandson. Two years later, a second grandson was born during the 2010 “Coastin to Carolina” ride. Marie, the only 21 year ride veteran, will continue to ride tag-team with Charlotte, and they will alternate driving Marie’s SAG van.
Charlotte Reicks first learned about and began bicycling for families with Huntington’s Disease in 1999 when Marie Nemec joined her and a friend for their first coast-to-coast ride from Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean (3000 miles). It was Marie’s plan to pass out information and collect donations for HD while Charlotte and her friend Evelyn planned to bicycle for The American Bible Society, passing out literature. Only 2 days into the ride, these two causes became combined for Charlotte with an unforgettable meeting with a woman in California who had HD, Nita Giles. Nita could not eat or speak and was confined to a wheelchair. It was then that Charlotte realized the enormity and devastation of HD and it was at that moment that her ride also became a ride for HD. To her great surprise, she learned from Marie that there were HD families in Grand Junction. At that time, a new HD Support Group was beginning and Charlotte became involved. That first ride across America was memorable for meeting other HD families along the way, experiencing the surprising generosity of people handing them donations, and for encountering churches of all denominations who took them in overnight. That ride was doubly difficult for they carried all their gear on their bicycles, up and down all kinds of terrain, in all kinds of weather, but such a blessing from God. Little did they know that although this was their first bicycle ride for HD and Charlotte thought their last, God had more planned for them!
This is Charlotte’s 27th year of cross country bicycling for a charity. It began back in 1992 with a ride across Colorado, from Utah to Kansas. Charlotte’s family has been her support: two sons, one daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren. Every year, Charlotte arranges for our overnight stays during the ride. She was a teacher for 25 years in Michigan, at Grand Junction High School, and at Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University). The past 20 years Charlotte has been a legal secretary and now is a medical transcriptionist. She uses her bicycle as her primary means of transportation around GJ. She is an original “Bicycling Grandma,” and is still our “energizer bunny,” the oldest of the riders. Her three grands are now adults in their 20’s and 30’s and she now has a 1 yr. old great granddaughter!
This year we are again blessed to have the sister team of Sherri Kole and Mary Ann Taylor. This is Sherri’s tenth “Bike for the Cure” ride. Sherri organized and put on seven pig roast fundraisers in Lewiston ID. These events raised close to $100,000. She has two special reasons to ride. Her 46 year old son tested positive for the HD gene 15 years ago, and is now symptomatic. Sherri also has a 10 year old “at-risk” grandson, Boyd.
Mary Ann Taylor
Mary Ann is an avid golfer and tennis player. She and her husband Scott live in Truckee CA (where she is the Pro Shop buyer and merchandiser at a golf course). She is the proud grandma of two young granddaughters who live in Reno NV. She cross-trains in spinning classes. Mary Ann did one “STP Classic” ride with Sherri. This is her fifth “Bike for the Cure” ride to raise funds for research to help find a cure for her nephew Dustin, who has HD. Welcome back, Mary Ann and Sherri!
So, again this year we have four “Bicycling Grandmas.”