Ride for research

People are often startled when a loved one exhibits confusion, memory loss or mood swings that might progress into dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

But most the concern is centered on seniors.

When a small percentage of the population starts exhibiting those symptoms in their 30s, 40s or 50s, diagnoses can vary widely. And once they're diagnosed properly, the news is devastating: there is no treatment, just the assurance of a continued decline.

Bob Leslie of St. Paul and Alice Lindahl of Maplewood both have experienced the effects of CADASIL on their spouses and their families.

They explain the disease causes damage that mimics more-common brain strokes. However, it's not caused by clots, but by a rare genetic disorder that apparently thickens the walls of blood vessels in the brain until they close. With its blood supply shut off, that part of the brain dies.

Lindahl is now a CADASIL widow; Leslie is in the midst of caring for his wife. But both decided to turn outward rather than inward, to raise awareness and ask for help funding the vital research that could someday offer treatment.

The second annual motorcycle ride and spaghetti dinner fundraiser for CADASIL will take place Saturday, June 9.

• Motorcycles can register from 9 to 10 a.m. at Hitching Post Motorsports, 103 Concord Exchange N., South St. Paul. The ride will depart at 10:30 a.m.

• After-ride events begin at 4 p.m. at South St. Paul VFW Post 295, 111 Concord Exchange S., South St. Paul, with a silent auction from 4 to 7 p.m. and a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 7 p.m.

Prices are $20 for each cycle driver and $10 per passenger, which includes the ride and dinner. Those who just want to attend the dinner get in for $10. Children ages 6-12 eat for $5 and those 5 and under are admitted free.

The funds raised will benefit nation-leading CADASIL researchers at Butler Hospital in Rhode Island, through the 501(c)(3) charity Leslie and Lindahl have set up.

For more information on the fundraiser, go to www.cadasilrally.org or search on CADASIL Events and Fundraisers on Facebook.

CADASIL is an acronym that stands for "cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarctions and leukoencephalopathy." However, Lindahl and Leslie hope people will remember and empathize with what the disease does to people, not what its name stands for. For an in-depth look at their experience, go to the link below

Comment Here