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Alzheimer’s is a family affair for Lara Dawson

Alzheimer’s is a family affair for Lara Dawson
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May 9, 2023
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Biking runs in the Dawson family. So does Alzheimer’s disease. If Lara Dawson has her way, her family’s love of biking will help put a stop to the plague of dementia that has dealt a blow to too many of her loved ones.

On Sunday, June 11, a small army of Dawson family members will be among the hundreds who gather at Colorado State University for the Alzheimer’s Association 2023 Ride to End ALZ to raise funds for dementia research and, hopefully, put an end to the disease’s impact on their family.

Lara and her husband, Kent, owner of the Briar Common Brewery + Eatery just north of Broncos stadium in Denver, will be peddling with a mission. Lara’s mother, Betsy Corcoran, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2019 after years of memory issues. One of Betsy’s sisters is living in a memory care unit with dementia, while another is participating in a research study on the disease. Lara’s grandmother passed away from the disease, not recognizing her own children. And Kent’s dad also died with Alzheimer’s.

“Knowing that we have this disease on both sides of the family, and knowing how hard it is to take care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s, I don’t want our kids to have to take care of us like we care for my mom,” said Lara. “And I don’t want my kids to get this. I worry about this a lot. It’s terrifying to think about.” 

Dawson family takes to the road
So Lara, who captains the Briar Common Brewery + Eatery ride team, will take to her bike June 11 with 12-year-old son Reid for a 23-mile ride while Kent and daughter Amelia, Reid’s twin, will bike the 10-mile course. After raising just over $4,000 last year in her first Ride to End ALZ, Lara’s team already has secured nearly $8,000 in donations this year – with 100% guaranteed to go to Alzheimer’s research.

Ride2023Web.jpgThe younger Dawsons are doing their share: Reid has raised $1,080 while Amelia, who just committed to the Ride a week ago, has raised $350. And more family members are committed to the Ride as well: Lara’s brother will join the ride while his wife and daughter will volunteer. And Lara’s older sister and two of her children are flying in from Virginia to support the family.

Even Lara’s coworkers are helping by sharing information about the ride, and several coworkers from across the country have donated to the team and one has volunteered to staff the finish line.

Caring for mom
Betsy’s children recently moved their mom from Virginia to Denver so they can better manage her care. Soon to turn 84, Betsy can still live independently, but the family has added layers of support, including a daily part-time caregiver to manage cleaning, laundry and physical therapy, and provide companionship.

“We want to keep mom living independently as long as possible,” Lara said.

While Lara’s parents are divorced, her father has donated to the Briar Common team to support the fight against Alzheimer’s in honor of his ex-wife.

There are more than 6.7 million Americans, including 76,000 Coloradans, living with Alzheimer’s disease today. It is the 7th-leading cause of death, and the only major disease without a prevention or cure.

The 2023 Ride to End ALZ
The 2023 Ride to End ALZ will be held on the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins. There will be five courses ranging from 10 to 72 miles, with staggered starts beginning at 7:15 a.m.

To register for or volunteer for the June 11 Ride to End Alzheimer’s, go to To support Lara’s team, go to

Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

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