The year’s Tri-State Trek felt like a long-overdue family reunion. After two years of big changes – including a completely remote ride in 2020 and a one-day, hybrid event in 2021 – the Trek to end ALS finally got back its roots in 2022. This meant a three-day, 270-mile journey by bike from Boston, MA to Greenwich, CT, with many of the people and teams that have made the Trek what it is over two decades returning for the first time in two years.
The 2022 Trek also marked the 20th annual ride. Since its beginnings in 2003, when 16 friends pedaled from Boston, MA to New York City, NY and raised $30,000 for ALS research, the Trek has grown into the marquee fundraising event for the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI). In that time hundreds of people, including many friends and family of people affected by ALS, have cycled the route while raising critical funds to support ALS TDI’s research to end the disease. Many of them have returned year after year – raising over $10 million dollars for a great cause since its inception and building a long-lasting sense of community along the way.
“The trek always does really feel like family,” said Nathan Pierce of Team What About Bobby. “You see the same people every year and you're excited to see them. You kind of feel you have a sense of community whenever you do the Trek, which is just something you don't experience at a lot of other fundraisers. This is an annual thing, and it's something that our friends just all gear up for. People know that this is what I'm going to fundraise for every year. I hit up my friends and family and we get a lot of generous donations. So, it's cool. We really try and raise as much as we can to support Bob and to find a cure for ALS.”
In addition to all the familiar faces, this year also saw the return of several other elements that make Trek such a special experience. For the first time in 2 years, riders and volunteers posed for pictures in front of the American Flag Barn, told stories about how ALS affected their lives in an emotional Saturday night open-mic program, and powered their way up the grueling but inspiring last climb up John Street in Greenwich.
Most importantly, however, the ride raised an incredible amount of funds to support ALS research. As a nonprofit biotech, ALS TDI relies on these funds to continue critical research to end ALS. On Saturday night, ALS TDI’s CEO, Fernando Vieira M.D. talked about how Trek funds have contributed to critical milestones, like ALS TDI’s invention of tegoprubart – a drug that recently completed phase 2a trials.
Thanks to the hard work of the riders at the Trek, the walkers, runners, and remote cyclists who participated in the Virtual Trek and Trek Your Way, and the supporters who purchased Dedicated Miles for their loved ones, this year the Tri-State Trek passed the $10 million mark for all-time funds raised. This year alone, the Trek has raised almost $575,000, thus far. However, donations are still open and every dollar is critical to ALS TDI’s mission to end ALS.
“With COVID-19 all the fundraising events had to get canceled as a result of people not being able to have the gatherings together,” said Ross Niblock of Team Niblock at the event. “And it's obviously crucial. But now we need to do this so that these organizations who are pushing forward can actually make a difference.”
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