Three cyclists made their way through Logansport Sunday as they continued their journey across three states in two weeks to raise funds and awareness for an incurable disease.
They were participants of "Bikin' the Dixie Highway for Huntington's Disease," an about 750-mile ride from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to Louisville, Ky., for the 29th annual Huntington's Disease Society of America that starts June 20.
Each year for the past 16 years, Marie Nemec, 70, of Grand Junction, Colo., organizes a different long-distance bicycle ride to raise funds and awareness for Huntington's Disease. It is a genetic neurological disease with a 50 percent chance of being passed from parent to child that results in the degeneration of brain cells. Ultimately, it leads to the loss of the ability to walk, think, talk and swallow.
Riders finished up a nearly 70-mile ride Sunday from South Bend to Logansport, where they spent the night at Main Street United Methodist Church. Along with Nemec were Charlotte Reicks and Gary Heiman.
In a phone interview last week as the riders were making their way down Michigan, Nemec caught her breath as she expressed her thanks for the nice weather they had so far to the sound of cars passing in the background.
A brochure about the ride states Nemec became aware of Huntington's Disease in 1997 after meeting Carmen Leal, author of "Faces of Huntington's," on the Christian Writers Group list on the Internet. The next year, she attended a Huntington's Disease Society of America convention in Denver, Colo., which, along with her Christian faith, inspired her to take action to raise funds and awareness for the disease.
"I guess I just felt sorry for people," Nemec said, going on to call Huntington's "a horrible disease" acquired through no fault of its carriers. "It's just genetics, just a flip of the coin."