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Cyclists begin 1,098-mile trek for third annual Pedal for Alzheimer's

An idea that was created to honor legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt continues with a goal to raise more money for research

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Cyclists hit the pavement Monday morning for the third annual Pedal for Alzheimer's ride.

The group will spend the next 12 days riding from Knoxville to Daytona Beach. They will pedal through the Smoky Mountains and the Carolinas.

The ride is in its third year and was originally created by Josh Crisp as a way to honor the late legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt who died from the disease in 2016.

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The team will take on a 1,098-mile trek, the same number of wins Summitt got in her career.

"Everyone that's participating has had a loved one or family member or friend impacted," Crisp said of the cycling team. "We are raising money for research and improving the quality of life for the caregivers. It's a 24/7 relentless job."

Credit: Getty Images
Legendary Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt.

In Tennessee, the CDC says Alzheimer's is the 5th leading cause of death. 

"Alzheimer's awareness is so important. It affects so many people in negative ways. It's a hard thing to deal with in the throws of every day," Timothy Howell, CEO of Senior Citizens Health Assistance Service said. "To get the awareness out there is huge, but to have people who will make a difference and raise funds is a big help in the battle. The energy they bring to this is so positive it overwhelming and appreciated."

Howell's nonprofit was one of 2 recipients of a grant by Pedal for Alzheimer's. He says they will use the money hire and train special caregivers who work with patients in their homes. They help with tasks like doing dishes, making beds and making sure those facing the disease feel healthy and safe.

On Saturday, locals joined the team for a ride around Knoxville. Cyclists rode everything from 10 miles to 66. 

Back here at home, there are ways you can still be involved. You can sign up to ride along virtually or simply donate.

Be sure to follow the team's journey for the next two weeks on social media.

RELATED: Pedal for Alzheimer's awards two community grants, sends cyclists off on 12-day bike ride to Daytona Beach

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