MILLBURN, NJ - The first of the bikers, those tackling the 20 mile route, poured onto Hartshorn Drive in Millburn to begin the 3rd Annual Jake's Ride for Dystonia on Sunday. The event also marked a milestone in the life of Jake Silverman, the person for whom the event is named, as he led the charge of the five mile bikers for the first time.
Jake was confined to a wheel chair during the first Jake's Ride three years ago and was still unable to ride last year, but his treatments have been successful and Jake rode alongside his supporters, as the proud community of Jake's family and friends looked on.
In 2008, Jake underwent Deep Brain Stimulation, which is a surgical treatment for Dystonia. The treatment entails a brain pacemaker that sends electrical impulses to parts of the brain. The treatment is not a cure, as Jake lacks fine motor skills and is often in pain.
The proceeds raised for the event go to The Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation. The foundation funds grants intended for research toward the treatment and cure of both Dystonia and Parkinson’s disorders.
This year’s event saw 120 volunteers come out in force, while close to 1000 bikers and walkers took to the streets to support this worthy cause. Jake's Surgeon, Dr. Sharma, stated in her remarks to the crowd that “Dystonia hits children especially hard, yet remains an underfunded disorder.”
Bonnie Strauss, Founder of the Bachmann-Strauss Foundation, said of the event that “everyone has worked relentlessly for six straight months to make this happen.” So far the money from the Jake's Ride events has been used to fund seven research grants.
There was food and refreshments on hand provided by numerous donors, Overlook Hospital added a show of support, as did music band British Invasion. High Gear Cyclery was also on hand to lend technical support to the bikes being used in the ride free of charge. Cyclery manager Nick Burton said of adding his team’s efforts that this is just simply “a no brainer.”
Otis Livingston, CBS Sports Anchor, took part in the event for the 3rd straight year. Livingston said it's “great to be a part of this community event, and the awareness of Dystonia now has a face.” Livingston added, “I look forward to this every year, and it's been great to watch it grow.”
The most touching moment of the day came when Jake Silverman's friend, Anya Parker, sang a song she wrote for Jake and the event titled Mission Possible, in which the lyrics contain, “His life is a mission possible/ he made it in this world/ he passed all her tests/ nothing can stop him now.” After her performance Parker said, “I'm just glad to be a part of his life and be close to him.” She also added, “I'm glad to help.”
Jake Silverman showed this crowd the truth of Anya Parker's words when he rode off to complete the five mile bike ride and lend support to his own cause and the cause of others who suffer the effects of Dystonia and Parkinson’s disorders.
For information and to donate visit www.jakesride.org