DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver outdoorsman plans to pedal 100 miles. It’s an annual ride he’s done before, but this time will be different.
Tom Kerrigan is a former information technology worker who is physically fit and very friendly. He’s trying not to get discouraged as his quality of life changes.
Kerrigan is passionate about the outdoors and an avid cyclist. He has scaled mountains all over the world, but his toughest climb is still to come. It’s an uphill battle Kerrigan doesn’t expect to win.
“At this point, there is no cure for the disease,” Kerrigan said.
He has early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He started noticing symptoms about two years ago at age 47.
“I’d go into a room to get something and forget what I went to get,” Kerrigan said. “You know, I was having to work twice as hard at work to get the same amount of work done.”
The Alzheimer’s diagnosis was heartbreaking. Kerrigan has a wife, Ann, and two young children.
“My biggest goal is to be around for my kids when they grow up, and if things don’t change, that may not happen,” he said.
Kerrigan keeps his wheels turning to slow the progression of the disease, exercising daily. He can no longer work at his job, but he works his brain. He’s learning to play piano for the first time.
On June 1 Kerrigan will take on the 100-mile Elephant Rock Ride.
“I’ve done it before … been a few years but I’m going to give it my best challenge.”
Kerrigan will cycle with the ALZ Stars and raise money to fight Alzheimer’s.
“The more awareness we can get out the better.”
Kerrigan does it for his friends with Alzheimer’s, his family and his future. Because of his Alzheimer’s, he suffers from some visual and spatial challenges, so he will ride very carefully. But his miles will be fueled by hope.