The Fox Focus 2021 Spring/Summer - Page 20

18 The Power of Teamwork

Team Rowland : Pedaling Toward a Cure

From Colorado to Connecticut and even across the globe in Australia — the Rowland family ’ s commitment to a cure has inspired action worldwide .
After Mike Rowland , of Birmingham , Alabama , was diagnosed with Parkinson ’ s disease at age 54 , his wife Stacy and their daughters Katie and Maggie looked for ways to help advance research . And in 2017 , they found their inspiration from an unlikely source : “ My 80-year-old grandparents strapped their bikes on the back of their Prius and drove from upstate New York to Greenville , South Carolina to ride a combined 55 miles for Parkinson ’ s ,” says Maggie . The entire family joined the ride , which was part of The Michael J . Fox Foundation ’ s Tour de Fox cycling series . With a team of 20 riders , Team Rowland raised an impressive $ 65,000 that year .
“ For me and other families living with Parkinson ’ s , one of the amazing benefits of this event is what you learn through the process and seeing how many lives have been touched by Parkinson ’ s that you may not have known before ,” says Stacy .
After that first ride , the Rowland family was hooked . In 2018 and 2019 , they grew to become one of the Foundation ’ s largest Tour de Fox teams , with supporters flying in from all over the country to participate . “ We thought we had this small circle of support , and we ended up having a group that we couldn ’ t even put into words before . It ’ s incredible to see people show up again and again for us ,” says Maggie .
Riding Through a Pandemic
When the COVID-19 pandemic halted the Foundation ’ s in-person events in 2020 , Team Rowland held on to their optimism and enthusiasm . They joined our resilient community of passionate and motivated fundraisers around the world for the Foundation ’ s first ride-from-anywhere event . Recruiting a total of 74 riders ( both socially distanced and virtual ), Team Rowland not only adapted to meet the moment , but they went full speed and raised over $ 130,000 .
And they ’ re not slowing down . With over $ 380,000 raised to date , the Rowland family is now preparing to host their own cycling event in Birmingham , Alabama on October 2 , 2021 .