The Tri-State Trek is all about bringing together the ALS community. We ride to help end ALS in honor of those we have lost and those who are still fighting this disease. At the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), we deeply appreciate every person who puts their time, energy, and resources into helping us in this fight through the Trek, from individual riders to big teams, volunteers to donors.

It’s always extra special, though, when we can welcome another organization working in the fight against ALS to the Trek. As a research institution, we operate without regard to politics or profit, however, we know that robust advocacy is also very important in the fight to make sure that someday every person living with ALS will get the care that they need. That’s why it’s such an honor to have the Thank You Squad, who represent our friends at the organization I AM ALS, joining the Trek this year.

The Thank You Squad are a group of volunteers that work to make sure donors to I AM ALS are being thanked and recognized for their contributions. Several members of the Thank You Squad will be riding in the Virtual Tri-State Trek and participating in the Trek Your Way this year as Team Gratitude Gang.

“We want to go into the Tri-State Trek with that sense of gratitude that makes the Thank You Squad unique” says Mandi Bailey, the Captain of the Gratitude Gang and a Thank You Squad Volunteer. “Although we're not in there in person to cheer everybody on, by participating and raising money, we can show much we appreciate the work that ALS TDI does.”

Mandi will be riding 100 miles on a Peloton from bike at her home in Gulf Breeze, Florida. In addition to supporting the Thank You Squads message, she will be riding in memory of her stepdad, who passed away from ALS. Other members of the team all over the country will be walking, running, and riding outside while raising money for research at ALS TDI – helping to move forward the organizations’ shared goal of ending ALS.

Besides promoting their athletic pursuits as part of the Trek, the Thank You Squad is also employing some unique fundraising strategies in order to get people involved and encourage donations. They’ve developed a program called the “Kind Raiser,” a list of small helpful tasks that Team members will perform in their communities in exchange for donations. It runs from things like taking a neighbor’s trash cans to the curb for $10, making a grocery run for a friend in need for $25, or posting a personalized Thank You video for $50.

“[Through the Kind Raiser] we can help members of our community, but they can help us, too,” says Mandi. "I think it goes along with the Thank You Squad’s goal of showing our appreciation and being a service to the community, as well as reaching out and bringing other people into this community through the Trek.”

Mandi is not only excited to get in the miles on her bike, help out in her community, and raise money for ALS research – she also views the Thank You Squad’s participation in the Tri-State Trek as a great way to show what can happen when two impactful organizations work together.

“I think that ALS TDI and I AM ALS complement each other because I AM ALS does so much on the advocacy side, and then ALS TDI does so much on the research side,” she says. “Those are two big components that we need in this fight. The fact that these two organizations are so willing to work together is a really good example for the rest of the community. It shows that we don't have to work in isolation. That we can come together for a good cause.”

For more information on the Tri-State Trek, click here. To support the Thank You Squad’s team Gratitude Gang, click.