Loved ones remained on their mind as they pedaled across America for Alzheimer's – Nextran
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Loved ones remained on their mind as they pedaled across America for Alzheimer’s

At 4 a.m. on June 11, Greg O’Connor, Tim O’Connor and Rob Brown dipped their rear bicycle tires into the Pacific Ocean, lapping on a beach in California.

A few minutes later with breaths steaming in 40-degree air, they began pushing through San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Only 3,000 miles and 13 days to go until they reached their home in Tampa.

Their minds wandered.

They thought of the O’Connor’s mother, Helen, who has suffered with Alzheimer’s the past 15 years from age 59; and of her husband, Joe, who has courageously — relentlessly and unselfishly — taken care of her.

They thought of Brown’s grandmother, who also struggled for years against the disease and all the pain and frustration that ripples through a family from that devastating loss of memory.

They thought of their cause, which they called “Ride to Remember,” and planned and trained for two years. The trio, lifelong friends who grew up in Seffner, hoped that their cross country ride would raise awareness to reach their goal of $50,000 to fight Alzheimer’s, the disease that had hit their family like an avalanche.

“Our family and the cause was always on our minds,” said Tim O’Connor, who lives in Tampa and works for Nextran Truck Centers. “Always, always.”

They pedaled.

Read more on Tampa Bay Online.