Each year after the Tri-State Trek, I try to put the experience into words, and each year, I end with an unfinished draft. Not because I don’t want to write about Trek, but rather because it is hard to write about. It is hard to capture the event in words. Nothing quite seems to do it justice. It’s one of those things that is hard to understand unless you’ve lived it, just as it’s hard to understand how ALS impacts lives unless you’ve lived it. That’s what binds us together. These experiences that no one else can relate to are exactly what make us a family.

Most people wouldn’t understand why we would willingly wake up at 4 a.m. all weekend or why we would cheer so loudly our voices begin to fail. Most people wouldn’t wear an inflatable dinosaur outfit in the 85-degree heat, or dress up as a hot pepper or wonder-woman either. For some, speaking in front of people is difficult, and for many, the idea of sharing their rawest emotions to a group of people they met only two days before, is unheard-of. Most people wouldn’t dare try to bike up a hill with over an 8% grade, let alone do it 11 times in one day. And most people wouldn’t ride over 270 miles on a bike, from Boston, MA to Greenwich, CT, to help raise over $778,000 for ALS research.

However, our Trek family does all of these things, and we do them over and over again. We do these things because we are fed up. We are fed up with the way that ALS destroys lives. We do these things because we’ve watched our loved ones lose their voices, their athleticism, and their futures. We do it for our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, grandparents, coworkers, and friends. We do it for Amy, for Rena, for Steve, for Andrea, for Andrew, for Bobby, for Kyle, for Patty and for all people whose lives have been impacted by ALS. In the words of our Chief Scientific Officer, Fernando Vieira, “Because we can, we must.” So every year our Trek family will continue to do what is considered crazy because we must end ALS.