Update: The original version of this story had an incorrect figure for funds raised by CMT events to date. This has been updated to list the grand total as $425,000.
The fourth annual Cycle 4 CMT fundraising bike race is scheduled for Aug. 27 at the Old Lantern in Charlotte. The goal of this full day of biking, walking, and enjoying good food and live music is to raise money for finding a cure for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
CMT is a progressive neurological disease that affects 2.8 million people worldwide (including 250 in Vermont), resulting in the inability to effectively use the hands, arms, feet, and legs, due to peripheral nerve damage. As of yet there is no cure for CMT.
Shelburne resident Chris Ouellette has been organizing the event along with his wife Mia and his children Warren and Lila since its conception in 2014. They were inspired to raise money for CMT when Ouellette’s 23-year old nephew Yohan Bouchard was diagnosed with the disease. Ouellette, an avid outdoor athlete who enjoys cycling, skiing and hiking, wanted to help others for whom those kinds of activities are not possible. Many people with CMT experience significant pain in their extremeties and may need to rely on wheelchairs or leg braces.
From the beginning, the event attracted about 175-200 participants and Ouelette called that a success. Fundraising also has grown exponentially from year to year. This year, Ouellette predicts it will surpass former levels.
“In three years we have raised $425,000,” he said. “My goal this year is to break the $500,000 mark.”
This year’s event will begin at 8 a.m. at the Old Lantern, with event check-in and a light breakfast for the participants. Cyclists will ride from 8 to 11:30 a.m., choosing from one of four possible routes (6.5 mi., 15 mi., 25 mi. or 40 mi.) through Shelburne, Charlotte, and Hinesburg. Each route has views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. there will be a walking option for non-cyclists on a half-mile or 1-mile route around the site of the Old Lantern. An after party follows from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with food, drinks, live music, a silent auction, and a CMT research update provided by visiting research scientists.
Ouelette said organizers are grateful for participation by both cyclists and walkers, and the local sponsors. “We get a lot of wonderful support from the local community, and it allows us to promote many Vermont companies, which is great,” Ouellette said. “We have a great time, and it’s for a great cause.”
Information and pre-registration: cycle4cmt.com.