GRIMES COUNTY - Clipping her cleats in at the Best Western Hotel in Navasota, Rona Altschuler is ready for another day on the road. She along with 29 other riders from around the world started their coast to coast journey March 7 in San Diego.
"We're about two-thirds of the way through," she said as she took in the Texas scenery.
The 59-year-old is riding across the country to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer's disease in memory of her mother, and her mom is making the journey with her.
"This is my mom," she said pointing to a picture of her mom on her bicycle. "She died of Alzheimer's in 2011, April 22, the day before my birthday."
She said her mom's memory encourages and helps her get up those tough hills.
"Sometimes I'll ride and I will just reach over my handlebars and just touch it for inspiration," she said. "Just to put my hand on that gives me strength and energy as I am riding. I know she's with me."
Altschuler said she didn't even own a bike until she decided to face this this journey, but is up for the challenge.
"I'm extremely grateful to have this opportunity to advocate for Alzheimer's and doing it on the seat of a bike is just another journey of my life and I am forever grateful."
Mile by mile, she is honoring her mother's memory the best way she knows how.
"I hope to be a better person when I finish this journey knowing that I've made a difference," she said. "I hope and pray every day that the word gets out about Alzheimer's and we get it of the closet and start talking about it."
She is urging people to talk about the disease and says that it's nothing to be ashamed of.
"That's my hope, is to let people talk about mom or dad or sister or brother that have it and not be ashamed to say that my loved one has Alzheimer's and yes, they don't know me, but by the grace of God, we know them," she said.
It's her driving force that will push her all the way to the east coast of Florida in a few weeks.
Altschuler hopes to raise $10,000 for the Alzheimer's Association by the end of her trip. So far, she has raised more than $7,000.
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