MILLBURN, NJ - 3, 2, 1, and the blow horn blared as the 5th Annual Jake’s Ride for Dystonia Research took off this Sunday, September 30, 2012, in Millburn. Many people, young and old, all took the time to show their support for Jake and others with dystonia. The event enables the community to come together with a common goal and help raise awareness about dystonia.
Jake’s Ride was started in 2007 when Jake Silverman, now a junior at Millburn High School, was diagnosed with childhood dystonia. Dystonia is a neurological disease that causes uncontrollable and sometimes painful spasms in parts of the body. When David Gardner, a neighbor of Jake’s family, heard about Jake’s disease, he took it upon himself to do something to help. He volunteered his time and expertise to create a bike ride in order to raise awareness about dystonia and try to raise money to find a cure for the disease. After being joined by the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation, the Silverman family has been able to raise over one million dollars for Dystonia Research in the last four years.
As Jake’s Ride began on this sunny Sunday morning, Gardner and the Silverman family, as well as the people from the dystonia research center spoke about the disease and inspired the attendees to help find a cure. One of the riders, Andrew Ahn, said “I love to see how many people come out and show their support for Jake and people with dystonia. I believe that everyone should know about this disease and the people it affects.” Everyone was very enthusiastic about the ride, from adults talking on bikes to young children yelling into the microphone for all to hear. Another rider, Josh Lee, a student at Millburn High School, believes that “this ride is a great way for people to get together and work towards a common goal.” Many people from Millburn, Short Hills, and other areas all join together for this important event.
Besides the riders, there were many young volunteers without whom this event could not have been possible. One young lady, Sarah Bressler, told TheAlternativePress.com that she has been a part of Jake’s Ride ever since it had started in 2007. Her job this year was running the arts and crafts booth for the younger kids. She was inspired to help since her mother has dystonia in one of her arms.
Jake Silverman, for whom Jake's Ride is named, told TheAlternativePress.com that he found the event, "amazing, humbling is actually a better word." He continued, "I’m speechless.”