Each month, we spotlight an inspiring story from someone in our Team DPF® community who is helping to improve the quality of life of people living with Parkinson’s by raising funds. Today we are happy to feature Rick Baker from Boulder, Colorado.
Which events did you participate in?
I have completed ten Copper Triangles, four Iron Horses, two Ride The Rockies and Friends for Phinney across the country in 2013.
Why did you decide to join Team DPF?
After my mom passed away in 2008, some friends asked me to join them at the Copper Triangle, even though I had been cycling for less than a year. I decided to drop by the Davis Phinney Foundation office to make a donation, and that same afternoon, I got a call from the Foundation inviting me to their dinner that night before the ride. I was already planning on riding with three friends (Kevin Cartin, Kathleen Donahue and Tom Casey), so I asked if they could join as well. The four of us had gone to high school with Davis and although we didn’t know him well, we were all huge fans. That night, we all reconnected and had a great time.
After the Copper Triangle the next day, we went to see Davis and Connie give their presentation speech. When Davis saw us, he jumped off the podium and gave us all a hug. That was it for me, and we started fundraising for all kinds of rides after that!
Tom Casey came up with the idea to ride across the country for the Foundation and he was the one who named us the Friends for Phinney. We had no idea what we were doing, but we made plans and took off from Oceanside, California in July of 2013 with the goal to be at the Copper Triangle the first week in August.
I don’t think anyone actually expected us to do this or make it there, but we did it thanks to Kevin Cartin’s logistical skills. When Connie saw us at the Copper dinner that year, she said, “I wondered if you guys would make it!” After that, we felt like real friends of the Foundation. Labor Day weekend of that summer we all arrived in Manhattan, having reached our goal. We all learned a lot about ourselves that summer, but we also learned so much about Parkinson’s and how it affects people and their families.
Friends for Phinney has ridden across the country, stopping in host towns to share our programs and our mission. That first year, we raised nearly $90,000, and both prior to and since then, we have individually fundraised and participated in lots of official Team DPF events, including Iron Horse, the Copper Triangle, Ride The Rockies, Road to Victory and many more.
What’s been your best memory as part of Team DPF?
Meeting Carl “Bolt” Ames in Durango and riding with him from Durango to Del Norte up Wolf Creek pass for his first century ride. It was also so great to meet and spend time with the Durango Parkinson’s community.
What was the biggest fundraising challenge you faced?
It’s always going to be somewhat difficult to ask friends for money, but since I knew that we were working towards an important goal, it was worth it.
What are the most important actions you took that helped you reach your fundraising goal?
For us, knowing that we had a great cause, being creative and having an actual goal to meet helped us to reach our goals because we knew that what we were doing mattered.
What would you say to someone interested in joining Team DPF?
Be positive and be the first one to donate! Change starts with you.
Do you have a Team DPF or fundraising story you’d like to share?
Your story, like Rick’s, could be featured on our blog and Facebook page so others can learn from your experiences. Submit Your Team DPF Moments of Victory® Story now.
If you’re not yet part of Team DPF, but you’d like to join us in raising money to help people live well with Parkinson’s today, learn how to get started here.