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Guymon Daily Herald on June 9, 2007

FOR THE FIRST WEEK of the ride from Grand Junction to Oklahoma City, Marie Nemec and Charlotte Reicks were joined by friends from Nebraska — Bill Ritter, Sandy Lozier and Regina Bergman. Sandy comes from a family affected by Huntington’s Disease. Her mother is in the latter stages of the disease and her uncle and brother are at risk. Sandy tested negative in 2000.

Bikers' trek combats Huntington's disease

Published June 9, 2007

Staff Writer

Straight from Colorado to Oklahoma is where the ninth annual “Bike for the Cure” long-distance bicycle ride will make its journey to the Oklahoma State capitol, but not before they make a stop in Guymon. “Rockies to Plains 2007” is a 900-mile bicycle ride from Grand Junction, Colo., to Oklahoma City for the 22nd Huntington Disease Society of America (HDSA) annual convention June 15-17, 2007.

The quartet taking the 15-day venture is made up of Marie Nemec of Grand Junction, Colo., Charlotte Reicks also of Grand Junction, Sandy Lozier of Elkhorn, Neb., and Sherri Kole of Lewiston, Idaho.

These women are quite a mixture with Reicks, 71, being the oldest and Nemec as the second oldest at age 63 with all of them riding for a different reason.

The ride will leave Grand Junction Thursday, May 31, and will arrive in Oklahoma City Thursday, June 14. Marking the middle of their journey, they will stop and sample the City of Guymon where they are being hosted by the Guymon Trinity Lutheran Church June 9. “We feel that it seems appropriate for this years ride to go that the ride goes through Oklahoma in 2007, since it is the centennial of Oklahoma statehood,” Nemec said.

She says that through a meeting in 1997 with Carmen Leal, author of Faces of Huntington’s, on the Christian Writer’s Group on the Internet is when she first became aware of Huntington’s disease. Then in June 1998, at Leal’s invitation, she attended the HDSA convention in Denver, Colo.

“Although I do not have HD in my family, after this experience I was deeply touched and felt that my Christian faith required action,” Nemec said.

Nemec and Reicks met through a mutual friend, and the trio rode across America together in 1999.

“Rockies to Plains 2007” will be their ninth ride for HD with previous rides including: two coast-to-coast rides (1999 and 2000), Border War on HD (Canada to Mexico), Ramble ’Round the Colonies, Trek Across Texas, Kick HD on Route 66 (Albuquerque, N.M. to St. Louis, Mo.), Coastin’ for HD (Wilmington, Del. to Atlanta, Ga.), and Midwest Meander for HD.

They have accumulated more than 15,000 miles through parts of nine states and Washington, D.C.

Kole first joined Nemec and Reicks for a portion of their ride in 2004. Her reason for joining hits close to home as her 33-year-old son tested positive for the HD gene in 2005.

Kole’s rides include: the two day “STP Classic” from Seattle, Wash., to Portland, Ore. three times and she also rode the last two-thirds of the 2006 Midwest Meander.

Lozier also has a special reason to ride – she comes from an HD family; her mother is in the later stages and resides in a nursing home, and her uncle and brother are affected.

Thankfully, Loizer tested negative for the HD gene in 2000, but still has nine other relatives who are at risk.

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