2023 Escape to the Cape & Alpha-1 Riding for a Reason

The Alpha-1 Foundation was proud to partner with the American Lung Association (ALA) for the 27th year of Escape the Cape in Massachusetts. Over 150 Alphas, friends and family came from all over the United States to joined together for two days to raise awareness and funds for Alpha-1. Riders participated in the in-person event on Cape Cod and during the month-long Riding for a Reason virtual riding campaign throughout September to raise over $132,000. Riders created teams and generated excitement on their online platforms to engage family and friends in raising dollars towards a cure.

Teams rode under the Team Alpha-1 umbrella including AlphaDogs (Captain: Jon Hagstrom), Keeping the Faith (Captain: Fred Walsh), Team Miami Office (Captain: Gordon Cadwgan), Team NY Alphas (Captain: Mike Allen), Team Alphas (Captain: Kari Black) Wheels on Fire (Captain: Deb Labud), Team Wheezy Riders (Captains: Siobhan Lestina and Dan Grimm), Team Helping Hands (Captains: Sherie Smith and Toya De Leon) Team Thomas Jr. who rode in Tampa, FL over the weekend (Captain: Jessica Brown) and Team Beam (Captain: Jordana Mora).

Other teams that were part of the pack:  Boston University CREM Lab (Captain: Dr. Andrew Wilson), Columbia Alpha Team with a Dream (Captain: Dr. Jeanine D’Armiento), CSL Behring (Captain: Alex Hansel), Grifols (Captain: Garry Bouton) and Takeda (Captain: Sara Rosenberg).

The event kicked off on Friday, September 22nd where volunteers and riders joined together to organize registration packets, the Alpha Angels patches and coordinate the logistics for the weekend. Special shout out to our newest volunteers Rebecca Ivie Lebryk and Karin and Michael Pittsley who helped set up for our team’s registration. The Alpha Angels patches are worn by the riders each year to memorialize Alphas in the community. The yellow and purple patches adorned the jerseys and helped remember why these events continue year after year.

“For patients with Alpha-1, the importance of community and socialization is ever apparent when we participate together in live, in-person events like, Escape to the Cape and Riding for a Reason. Gathering as a community, supporting one another, welcoming new faces while embracing and reconnecting with old friends and families is inspirational and rewarding. I am so proud to be part of the Alpha-1 community and playing a role in leading Alphas and our stakeholders raising awareness and funds to find a cure,” said Scott Santarella, President and CEO of the Alpha-1 Foundation.

An exciting new addition to this year’s event was the use of GoPro cameras donated by Ruth and Gordon Cadwgan. Team captains were given the cameras to capture each leg of the trek. It was a fun way to showcase the event and recruit future riders.

Team Alpha-1 managed Rest Stop #3 with signage for social media posts and the infamous “Fluffer Nutter Sandwich”. Kathi and Dan Coffin teamed up with their niece Rachel Sprunger and the Masterson Family to lead the Alpha-1 Community at the rest stop. Bundled up and dressed in all purple, Team Alpha-1 took home the “Most Spirited Award” at the event. Thank you to all the incredible volunteers that braved the inclement weather brought in by Tropical Storm Ophelia that followed the event up the coast all weekend. A special thank you to Dan Coffin and Tom Binnall for being the official Alpha-1 truck drivers throughout the weekend. The Alpha-1 “Sweep”, Kevin Slusser, ensured that all riders on Team Alpha-1 were safe throughout each leg of the route. We are extremely grateful for our longstanding New England trek members, Fred Walsh and Shirley Dennis for their tireless commitment decade after decade for this outstanding fundraising and volunteer campaign.

Leadership from across the Alpha-1 Foundation joined on the Cape for this annual event including Scott Santarella, President and CEO, Jon Hagstrom, Board of Directors Chair, Fred Walsh, Vice Board Chair, Dr. Robert Sandhaus, Clinical Director, Mark Delvaux, CFO, Gordon Cadwgan, Past Chair of the Board of Directors and Dr. Jeanine D’Armiento, Past Chair of the Board of Directors.

After 100 miles, the 80 riders crossed the finish line and earned Team Alpha-1 the ALA Silver Spoke Award for the largest team again this year. Each rider proudly received their medals at the closing ceremony for the event. Thank you to our newest volunteers, and those returning, we could not have done it without you.

Thank you to our top fundraising teams from Escape the Cape and Riding for a Reason, Team Grifols, Team BU/BMC, Alpha Dogs, Keeping the Faith, Beam Team, Thomas Jr., A1F Miami Office, Team Alpha, Wheezy Riders, NY Alphas, Team Biking for Beckett and Team Amanda Howard.  A special thank you to our top fundraisers, Jon Hagstrom, Harry Long, Gary Bouton, Tom Dombrowski, Dr. Andrew Wilson, Kailey Walsh, Kevin Slusser, Scott Santarella, Ryan Schmidt, Chase Scott and Joe Reidy.

We look forward to next year at Escape to the Cape from September 28th to September 19th, 2024. Thank you to our Building Friends for a Cure sponsors, AlphaNet, CSL Behring, Grifols and Takeda.

Please see below the photo album courtesy of Richard Lovrich.

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