Local residents to pedal for Alzheimer’s

MARSHALL?-?The man on a bike wearing a purple T-shirt with the words “The Longest Day” is not just biking for fun Saturday, he is cycling 100 miles around Lyon County for a cause.

Justin Vorbach of Marshall will participate in The Longest Day, a sunrise-to-sunset team event raising funds for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.

In particular, Vorbach is cycling on behalf of his mother, Alice Gordon Vorbach, 74, of Richmond, Va., who has Alzheimer’s and is in hospice care.

“Mom’s titles include wife, mother, grandmother, artist, educator, chef, hostess, coach and leader,” said Vorbach.

She started showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s at the age of 66.

“Her mother died of Alzheimer’s in 1994 at the age of 81, so when she was showing signs of forgetfulness and disorientation, we suggested she see a doctor,” Vorbach said. “Drugs slow the progress, but there is no cure.”

Vorbach got into cycling four years ago and rides on Mondays with a group that goes to Camden State Park and back, which turns out to be about 20 miles all told including back roads. Two years ago, he rode 100 miles in another charity event, so he feels confident that he can do this one as well.

Shelly Pflaum of Marshall is also participating in the event. She will use a hand bike at the Marshall Area YMCA to rack up miles since she is a wheelchair user.

“I’ll ride some in the morning and possibly some more in the afternoon,” she said.

Pflaum heard about the event because she is on a committee to make Marshall an Alzheimer’s-friendly community.

“I thought it was a great idea and a fun and interesting way to raise money,” she said.

Pflaum said she has a family member who had dementia.

“My dad’s aunt passed away from it,” she said.

To donate, visit act.alz.org and click on The Longest Day and search for cycling events in Marshall.

Vorbach has reached 31 percent of his $5,000 goal as of Wednesday – $1,555.

Vorbach will start Saturday at noon from Holy Redeemer School and head to Balaton, then to Tracy, then Cottonwood. From Cottonwood, he will ride to Minneota and then back to Marshall.