Cyclists will compete in the 3,000-mile race to raise awareness and funds for muscular dystrophy and mental health
LEXINGTON, Mass. – The FSH Society and Skyland Trail today announce that they are jointly entering an eight-person team in the 2019 Race Across America (RAAM) to raise funds for their respective causes. The two non-profit organizations, one focused on facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) and the other on mental health and suicide prevention, joined forces to tackle the grueling, 3,000-mile bicycle race because of a personal friendship between George Pollock and Powell Brown, who share a belief that the link between mental and physical health is real and critical to whole-person care.
Two years ago, more than 400 people joined Pollock in raising $107,000 for the first RAAM campaign to support research and bring awareness for FSH muscular dystrophy. Pollock has the hereditary muscle disease, but he is able to compete in the long-distance race. The FSH Society funds research to develop treatments for the disease, which affects around 1 in 8,000 men, women, and children and can lead to severe disability.
Supporting Pollock’s 2017 effort was his friend Powell Brown, who was so inspired that he asked to join the RAAM team this year on behalf of Skyland Trail, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that helps people with mental illness thrive through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, integrated medical care, research, and education.
This June, Team FSHD Skyland Trail will race in RAAM, pedaling from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland. The team expects to cover more than 450 miles a day and complete the race in fewer than seven days.
“We are raising awareness, helping to erase the stigma associated with mental illness and raising money for education, research, and treatment of these serious disorders which affect so many of our friends, family, and colleagues,” says Brown. “Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in youth ages 10 to 24. I am riding to change that.”
“FSH muscular dystrophy affects me, along with nearly one million others around the world,” Pollock notes. “There may come a time when I cannot pedal a bicycle. Until then, I will continue to ride, and I encourage everyone to enjoy their passions and be ambassadors for our efforts to find a cure.”
The FSH Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is the world’s largest research-focused patient advocacy organization for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Based in Lexington, Massachusetts, its mission is to accelerate the development of research on treatments and a cure; to educate, empower, and activate individuals and families with FSHD; and to increase support for FSHD research and patients through effective engagement of government and private sector organizations. For more information, visit www.fshsociety.org and facebook.com/FSHSociety.