Locals taking ‘Ride to Remember’
by Robert Joseph Baker | July 14, 2017 2:14 pm
Last Updated: July 14, 2017 at 2:16 pm
Alzheimer’s is an illness with which George “Trip” Hussey III is quite familiar.
About two years before it took his grandfather’s life, it began taking his mind. Hussey is honoring his grandfather’s life through his second time participating in the Ride to Remember for the Alzheimer’s Association, which will begin Friday.
“The last two years of his life, he was afflicted with it,” Hussey said. “So, I’m doing this because those are bad memories. It clouds all the good memories, and I’m doing this to remember the good memories and help a great cause.”
The three-day bicycling ride will take Hussey from Simpsonville through to Newberry to Orangeburg to Charleston for a total of 252 miles.
“We stay in hotels along the way and end at Patriot’s Point in Charleston,” he said.
This year, Hussey will be joined by fellow local cycling enthusiast Pete Surette, a former law enforcement officer who has been active in a similar effort that rides to honor fallen law enforcement officers in South Carolina and across the country.
“I got interested in the ride after hearing about the details from him,” said Surette. “My wife’s grandfather, Harold Coker from the Turbeville area, he had Alzheimer’s. That was the first time I experienced something like that. He was physically there and physically well, but most of the time, he had no idea who his family members were. It was just a tragedy for someone not to know their loved ones or friends.”
Surette said that along with the “enormous physical challenge and personal adventure of cycling across South Carolina,” that he was also “committed to raising awareness and funds to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.”
“Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to grow to as many as16 million by 2050,” Surette said. “Now is the time to come together to change the course of this disease.”
Surette’s personal fundraising goal was $750, which he surpassed in May through posts on social media. Hussey was more ambitious in his goal, starting at $5,000. He surpassed his 2016 goal of $1,750 nearly two months before the ride. This year, Hussey’s fundraising was aided by Cindy and Bobby Snowden. The couple held a drawing for vintage gas pumps – one for Carolina and one for Clemson – which Bobby had restored. Ticket sales were able to bring in $2,000 for the Ride to Remember.
Hussey said that his company – Coca-Cola – also offered a $2,500 donation. By Tuesday, Hussey had met 77 percent of his current goal of $7,000, having raised $5,731 at his personal Ride to Remember page at bit.ly/2ucLCuY. Surette had raised $875 at his page, bit.ly/2t2PKOW.
“I started out with a modest goal,” Surette said. “All funds raised benefit the Alzheimer’s Association and its work to enhance care and support programs and advance research toward methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.”
Hussey had been cycling about two years when he undertook his first cross-state ride last year. He had switched from running as a physical activity because of pain in his hips.
“I got on the bike because of my hip problems,” he said. “I love it. It’s fun and it keeps me active.”
He had always wanted to ride across South Carolina, and the Ride to Remember gave him that opportunity while also providing a chance to honor one of the most important people in Hussey’s life.
“This disease destroyed the last years for my namesake and grandfather, George Hussey Sr.,” said Hussey. “It clouds the great memories I have with him. This is the least I can do to honor him.”
Hussey initially saw the Ride to Remember last year on social media.
“Aside from honoring my grandfather, I liked this ride because it’s with a group and that makes it safer,” he said.
Surette agreed, saying that while Hussey is a bit more advanced in his cycling, the pair will remain together during the trek across South Carolina.
“It’s easier when you group up,” he said. “You coach each other along and support each other when you’re getting tired.”
Surette is no stranger to long cycling trips, having been a member of the Palmetto Patriots for more than seven years. The group rides in honor of fallen law enforcement officers, and members attend National Police Week in Washington, D.C., each May.
Still, Surette said he’s had to work to get up to Hussey’s stamina levels.
“I had a real problem with leg cramps, but I’ve been working through that with supplements and assuring my hydration,” said Surette. “We’ve been at it for a while, so we’re looking good for this ride. If George wanted to, he could take off and leave me, but we’re going to stick together.”