75-year-old West Jeff man to ride 730 miles for good cause

Last updated: June 02. 2014 5:09PM - 268 Views
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Gary Heiman, left, and cycling neighbor, Mark Zellers, of West Jefferson, put in some road time in preparation for Heiman's trek in June, Bikin' the Dixie Highway. The two-week trip, which will start June 7, will begin in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, run through Indiana and terminate at Louisville, Ky. The ride is designed to raise awareness of Huntington's disease.
Gary Heiman, left, and cycling neighbor, Mark Zellers, of West Jefferson, put in some road time in preparation for Heiman's trek in June, Bikin' the Dixie Highway. The two-week trip, which will start June 7, will begin in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, run through Indiana and terminate at Louisville, Ky. The ride is designed to raise awareness of Huntington's disease.
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The date moves ever closer for the departure of Gary Heiman. He’ll be doing some “road work” on his bicycle in the 16th “Ride for the Cure.”


It’s the cure of Huntington’s disease that Heiman, 75, of West Jefferson, will be pumping the pedals.


As June 7 approaches, he’s made sure his trusty two-wheeler — 43,000 miles and counting (literally) — is well-oiled and ready for the 730-mile tour from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to June 19 in Louisville, Ky. It’s called Bikin’ the Dixie Highway.


Heiman pronounces himself to be “performing OK, too.” He’s gradually been increasing his springtime mileage to build endurance for the 12-day, 730-mile ride.


“The purpose of the ride, raising public awareness and funds for Huntington’s Disease research and family services, continues to progress,” Heiman said. He invites people to have a look at www.firstgiving.com/bikeforcure.


Heiman’s wife, Barbara, works in a clinic at The Ohio State University, which treats patients with Huntington’s disease. It is a disorder which affects the brain and brings on dementia-like symptoms. According to the website, www.alz.org, the symptoms are as follows:


“The hallmark symptom of Huntington’s disease is uncontrolled movement of the arms, legs, head, face and upper body. Huntington’s disease also causes a decline in thinking and reasoning skills, including memory, concentration, judgment and ability to plan and organize.


“Huntington’s disease brain changes lead to alterations in mood, especially depression, anxiety, and uncharacteristic anger and irritability. Another common symptom is obsessive-compulsive behavior, leading a person to repeat the same question or activity over and over.”


Heiman said followers can also check in at www.bikeforthecure.org to see what the team has been up to.


Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.

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