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Another Alzheimer's tragedy doesn’t deter Sam Van Why

Another Alzheimer's tragedy doesn’t deter Sam Van Why
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April 24, 2023
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Sam Van Why doesn’t need any more motivation to raise money to end Alzheimer’s disease, but fate keeps giving him new reasons. For the third consecutive year, Sam, an avid long-distance bicyclist, will hop on his bike to play his part in the fight to find the first survivor of Alzheimer’s. 

Sam-and-DonnaWeb.jpgThis year, the retired college professor will participate in the June 11 Ride to End ALZ in memory of his beloved wife, Donna, who was the latest of Sam’s loved ones to fall to the fatal disease.

“My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 20 years ago,” Sam said. “Then my brother, Duane, was diagnosed. Not much later his wife, Bev, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.” 

In 2017, Donna was diagnosed with dementia. He cared for her in their Castle Rock home until she passed away Dec. 8, 2022.

“Right now, there is no shortage of ideas in Alzheimer’s research, only dollars to make them happen,” said Sam. “That’s why I’m participating in the Ride to End ALZ Colorado. With each mile I ride, I am raising funds to advance research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.”

This will be Sam’s third Ride to End ALZ Colorado. Thus far, he’s raised over $10,000, with 100% of the funds raised going towards Alzheimer's research. This year, he’s helming Donna’s Team. 

Today, more than 6.7 million people across the United States, including 76,000 Coloradans, are living with Alzheimer’s, which is the 7th-leading cause of death and the only major disease without a prevention or cure.

The June 11 ride will be held on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Already, 186 riders from 14 states are registered. In years past, the event has drawn participants from across the U.S. and internationally. Last year, the Ride raised over $230,000 for Alzheimer’s research. This year, the event goal is $450,000.

Participants in the Ride will have five routes to choose from, ranging from 10 to 75 miles. Prior to June 1, registration for the event is $50 per rider. The per-rider fundraising minimum is $500, which includes a complimentary event jersey.

To learn more about the Colorado Ride to End ALZ, click here. To volunteer for the event, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at

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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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