Originally Published by The Citizen
Cycle 4 CMT is a fundraising cycling event for individuals with CMT disease (Charcot-Marie-Tooth). CMT is a progressive neurological disease that affects 2.8 million people worldwide. It often severely impairs the use of one’s hands, arms, feet, and legs as a result of peripheral nerve damage. There is no cure for CMT; it affects approximately 250 people in Vermont.
The Cycle 4 CMT ride is organized by Chris Ouellette of Shelburne, his wife Mia, and his children Warren and Lila.
Ouellette’s 23-year-old nephew Yohan Bouchard, who has CMT, was Ouellette’s inspiration to create the ride in 2014. The simple pleasures of outdoor exercise are often difficult for those with CMT, because many experience significant pain in their feet, legs, arms, and hands. Many wear leg braces, are confined to wheelchairs, or have difficulty riding a bike due to loss of balance and sensation. Bouchard tires easily and has difficulty managing pain even when walking. Due to foot deformities, he cannot wear a cycling shoe, ski boot, or hiking shoe.
Ouellette realized that an opportunity existed to connect the passion and energy that Vermonters possess for outdoor activity to a day of fundraising. Money raised from the ride will support of research, with the goal of stopping the disease’s progression and preventing CMT in the future. As a result, Cycle 4 CMT was born in the summer of 2014.
In 2014, 80 cyclists rode, raising over $73,000, with 150 participants raising over $220,000 in 2015. The money will be used to fund support for the development of new drugs to treat CMT, to improve the quality of life for patients, and ultimately, to find a cure.
This event is for cyclists and non-cyclists of all ages. Participants choose one of four routes ranging from 6.5 miles to 40 miles, all of which have beautiful views of the mountains and Lake Champlain.
All registrants participate in the event party, which includes live music, incredible food, Vermont-brewed beer, and opportunities to bid on silent auction items. Registration is currently open.