Hello! My name is Jacob Howard. I am a sophomore from Bowling Green, KY majoring in Accounting at Western Kentucky University and a member of the 7th Bike4Alz excursion.
I first heard about Bike4Alz once I joined the Chi Eta chapter of FIJI at WKU and it has been something that has encompassed my mind ever since. Listening to former riders speak of their experiences and motives behind their ride really began to open my eyes to the severity of Alzheimer’s, which is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. This, along with a personal connection to the disease, is why I chose to ride.
My great grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and passed away 10 years later from the disease. I have heard stories about those last 10 years from both my mother and grandmother. Initially, he was able to notice his lack of remembering simple tasks, but progressed to him forgetting how to drive himself home, having episodes where he became violent and eventually forgetting how to function all together. My family had to put him in a nursing home, where he would wander the halls and enter other rooms thinking it was his own. He eventually couldn’t even remember any of his family. Even though I never had the chance to meet him, I am riding in memory of my great grandfather, Ernest Sippola, and all past, present and future victims of the Alzheimer’s disease.