After his wife, Terry, finished treatment for breast cancer, Al Reszel wanted to find a way to give back. For a few years, the avid cyclist joined local breast cancer charity rides, but he found himself itching to do more—and raise money for research specifically.
In 2016, Al completed his first long-distance fundraising ride, cycling 500 miles from Minnesota, where the couple lives, to Chicago. For those five days, Terry rode along in their car, and together, the couple raised more than $4,000 for BCRF. “By the time we were driving home, we said, ‘Well, what are we doing next? We’ve got to do something bigger,’” Al said about that first ride.
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Since starting their fundraiser, Pink Pedals 4 A Cure | Terry’s Ride, Al and Terry have done “something bigger” ever since. In the years that followed, Al biked more than 1,700 miles (2017) and 3,400 miles (2018)—and raised tens of thousands for BCRF’s research in the process.
This year, Al and Terry will embark on their most ambitious ride yet, in part, to mark their both retiring from careers as educators. Originally, the Reszels plotted a 6,000-mile route from Anchorage, Alaska to BCRF’s headquarters in New York City through Canada, but because COVID-19 shut down the Canadian border for non-essential travel, the couple had to switch gears.
Undaunted, they’ll now launch PP4AC from Los Angeles on Tuesday, riding up to Seattle, and then east to New York City to still hit their original 6,000 mile-goal. All told, they’ll travel through 16 states over roughly 65 days.
Their ride will look different this year: The couple is planning to camp in their truck, which has been fitted with a mattress, when they’re not in an area with safe lodging. Like the rest of the country, they’ll be maintaining social distancing rules and sporting masks whenever necessary. But they’re eager to fund more research—even if that means making modifications or swapping a comfy hotel room for the car.
“We’ve got five grandkids now, and I wouldn’t have known any of them without research,” said Terry, who will mark 10 years as a thriver in September.
For Al, who cycles year-round and has been preparing for this ride for months, there was no question he would find a way to continue his ride. The need for more research is urgent.
“We have three granddaughters and two daughters-in-law,” Al said. “Then there’s the one in eight women that we don’t know [who will be diagnosed with breast cancer]. We want to get to the point where when a woman gets breast cancer, surviving is close to a certainty.”
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