Why We Ride

We ride for our friends and loved ones who suffer from lung cancer and all lung diseases. Let's make sure everyone can benefit from healthy lungs.

My name is Jemanuel Concepcion, and this is Why I Ride

Jea Manuel

I was diagnosed with asthma at a young age, growing up as a kid using an inhaler was not fun. I ended up one time at the hospital from having an asthma attack. I spent a few days at the hospital and I will never forget the small memories I had of those few days. It was my first time seeing my mother scared and I was confused, because she was always a very strong woman and never showed fear, but it wasn't until this moment I knew in her eyes that it got to her. I hated seeing my mother like this and at times I would wish my asthma would just go away forever. It would frustrate me so much that I would not use my inhaler even though there were times when I really needed to. She got me involved into sports as I grew older where I played baseball and even though there isn't much cardio in it, it will still get me worked up from the constant fast movements but I fought through it. A few years later she enrolled me into track and field where I learned more on how to push myself just so that I can try to keep up with the older kids. At that time, I did not have to rely on my inhaler anymore.

A few years later my mother gifted me a mountain bike for one of my birthdays when I was a teenager. I loved it, I would use it to go all over even if it was just to go down a block to get food from a restaurant. I eventually stopped riding when I became 18 back in (2011). But then in September (2020) I wanted a new challenge in life, so I purchased my first road bike, but didn’t do much riding till this summer (2021), where I grew love for cycling once again.

I found out about the Reach the Beach event through Facebook and thought to myself “this looks fun”. Although I was a bit nervous, since I haven’t had much training and my longest ride so far was only 50 miles in which I had caught a cramp on mile 46, but I was ready to challenge myself. Reason being is because I like to show people that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and that it’s never too late to get into a new hobby or lifestyle. Besides, an active lifestyle keeps one’s body and mind healthy and helps reduces risks of diseases. I try to lead by example for my family and friends, but mainly for my mother (Victoria) and two younger sisters (Catalina and Deanna). Deanna my youngest sister was also diagnosed with asthma as a kid, she has come a long way since then and is always pushing herself little by little. I had put their names in a heart on my cycling shirt, so when the ride got rough, I looked down at their names and continued to push through. I can’t wait to do it all over again next year. Hopefully a few of my friends and family can read this and pick up a bicycle to join me to support the American Lung Association and also to spread awareness. So, if you got to read all of this so far, I hope it gives you some motivation to go out and get a bicycle or even just to be active, trust me you won’t regret it. This is my story, now go out and tell the world yours.

I want to give a shout out to all the volunteers for being so helpful, friendly, and positive during the rest stops. It made the few minutes I was there to refuel very enjoyable. And a huge special shout out to Stephanie Roloff for assisting me with my last minute out the blue registration entry, thank you you’re the best.

My name is Mary Beth, and this is Why I Ride

Debi BI took up bicycling about 6 years ago after having a hip and knee replacement. I was born with a congenital hip deformity and had numerous surgeries throughout my life but with my new hip and knee, I was able to do things I hadn’t been able to do and distance bicycling was one of those things! I vowed to remain active and healthy and biking in events like Reach the Beach has helped me to stay strong and healthy.

I come from a family of 10 and over the last 16 months I have lost 3 of my brothers, one from a heart attack, one from COPD and one respiratory failure. Unfortunately my brothers did not take care of their health. I chose to dedicate this year’s Reach the Beach to my brothers and hoped that my ride would inspire others to lead healthy lives.

I used Facebook to post my Reach the Beach fundraiser. It was really easy to set up and use. I updated my fundraiser periodically while I trained for the ride. During the actual ride, I posted photos at each rest stop and updated my post with my progress. I found that each time I posted an update, I would receive more donations. I ended up being a Champion

My name is Debi, and this is Why I Ride.

Debi B My story started in 1999 when my father died of lung cancer. A friend had participated in Trek Tri Island for several years, she asked me to train and do the ride. 22 years later I’m still at it, now with Reach the Beach WA! Wonderful gift of motivation from my father.




My name is Kevin, and this is Why I Ride.

Kevin For the tenth consecutive year (for both Reach the Beach OR & Reach the Beach WA), I am cycling 100 miles to support the American Lung Association. I ride because I love the challenge. I ride because I love feeling invigorated and healthy. I ride for ME...

Like many of us, my life has been touched by lung disease. Having asthma throughout my childhood, I not-so-fondly remember sleepless nights being consoled by my parents, Allen and Phyllis, while I coughed, and coughed, and coughed.

  I have fond memories of attending asthma camp (yah, that was a thing) as a kid and learning how to manage the physical, psychological, and social effects of the disease. But I also remember the first time that our son, Isaac coughed, and coughed, and coughed as a baby. From that sound I knew I had 'generously' gifted him my lungs. I ride for ISAAC...

  Seven years ago my Father in Law passed away from untreatable lung cancer. I ride for PAT PATTERSON and for those who loved him...

  Today, in the time of COVID-19, we need to support this work more than ever.

  I dream of the day when lung disease is a thing of the past. And when we have achieved this dream I will still ride!

  This year I am so happy to be riding together with TEAM LEFOHN with my Dad Allen, who has spent his entire career in environmental air quality research, my brother Aaron, and my son Isaac.

  Ride On!  

My name is Deanna, and this is Why I Ride.

DebiI ride in honor of my late stepfather, Mike, who passed away much too soon after succumbing to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was a kind, loving and adventurous man who loved the great outdoors and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. He enjoyed cycling and was particularly fond of the coast.

I first learned about Reach the Beach five years ago, when a friend posted their fundraiser on Facebook. It was only two weeks before the event was to take place, so I was in no way prepared to ride 100 miles. I made a donation, telling my friend of my desire to ride in my stepfathers honor. He said he would ride it for him that year, and I could do it the next year. And so, began my training. In May of 2017, I, along with my two sons and my sister-in-law, each rode our first 100+ mile Reach the Beach ride in his honor. It has given purpose and meaning to my love of cycling to raise awareness and funds for this great cause.

Though the ride was a bit different this year, it was still a great adventure to be had! I look forward to riding my 5th RTB, together, in 2021!

My Name is Mark and this is Why I Ride

Mark Brashem For 2020 I am riding in Reach the Beach Washington to raise funds to eliminate COVID-19. This disease is a killer. So far more than 163,000 people have died in America because of this pandemic. It is truly tragic. As a country we need to fight this disease with the tools we have including FACE MASKS and HAND WASHING. Most importantly, as a country we need to develop a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 from killing any more citizens.  The sooner we can eliminate COVID-19 the better.

It is really sad to see people dying every day from COVID-19, especially when we, as the financially strongest country in the world aren’t able to consolidate our resources to get together and develop a vaccine to eliminate this virus.  WE need to raise funds to defend ourselves from this virus.



My Name is Jay and this is Why I Ride

Jay Clay I ride because I can.  I ride to honor my late wife.  I remember when we were dating, we used to go on long rides together and enjoyed each other’s company.  Unfortunately, she lost her life to lung cancer 7 years ago.  When she was fighting her cancer, she had trouble just walking down the street and back.

I ride for those people that are fighting the same battles today.

I ride for my son.  He loves to downhill mountain bike.  The time I can spend with him on our bikes are precious moments that we can share as he gets older.  I ride for my health and I ride of the joy of riding.   I hope you can ride with me so we can share that joy.  


My Name is Adrienne and this is Why I Ride

Adrienne Siciliano I was just diagnosed with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction and asthma, most likely due to lung damage from working outside last summer when the wild fire smoke was really bad. I started smoking when I was 12 and have been tobacco free for 5 years on Sept 27th, and now I have breathing problems, go figure right! When I started to train for the Seattle to Portland ride this year is when I started noticing how much I was struggling with breathing. I've had several asthma attacks where I cannot inhale for a few minutes and it's very scary. I have an inhaler now, and have been learning to feel the warning signs while I'm doing my long distance rides and I stop to catch my breath. Learning the signs has reduced the asthma attacks quite a bit.

My brother also has asthma, and I remember growing up with him having asthma attacks, and they were so scary to watch because we never knew if he'd pull out of it, and now I have them. I'd love to raise money for this great foundation because breathing is very important!

My Name is Allen and this is Why I Ride

Allen Lefohn Last year I rode my first Reach the Beach Ride at age 74 with my two sons, Kevin and Aaron. Last year, during the entire summer in Montana, I trained for this ride. It was important for me to be in shape and join my two sons and help contribute to the mission of the American Lung Association. This year the three of us will be joined by my grandson, Isaac. Three generations of Lefohn will form Team Lefohn.

Why do I ride? First, let’s make sure everyone can benefit from healthy air and lungs. I ride to represent all those who suffer from lung disease, especially those who are close to my heart. Second, I believe in the American Lung Association’s mission. Every year I participate as a research scientist in the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report. This report presents a summary of the Nation's air quality and is followed closely by the public, policymakers, the US Congress, and the worldwide press.

The American Lung Association is an important part of my life. I am pleased that my efforts help it achieve its goals.

My Name is Todd and this is Why I Ride

WhyI-Ride TravisI am riding for my dad who passed away 5 years ago due to complications from COPD. I believe that the most important things your parents teach you are those that they do by the nature of their character, and usually happen without them even knowing it.

My dad put me on top of a little yellow Schwinn way back when, and he gave me that first push down the sidewalk that led to a lifetime love of all types of cycling. But the life lessons my dad (and mom!) imparted to me through that bike were long lasting…how to take on a new challenge, learning how to fall and more importantly how to get back up and try again, learning how to solve a problem (that wheel won’t true itself), and maybe the best of all of now having a way to go explore outside the comfort zone of my house and explore the world around me.

That bike and every bike since opened up a big world for me. I’ve made rad friends, had great experiences, traveled all over, and now it’s given me a chance to honor my dad, raise awareness to the seriousness of respiratory related diseases, raise money for the American Lung Association, and do my first century just shy of my 50th birthday.

Miss you pops, this one is for you!

My Name is Travis and this is Why I Ride

WhyI-Ride TravisI ride because I want to show my kids a healthy lifestyle. Actually, I rode almost the whole ride with my kids last year. Freya rode the first part with me, then we hooked up the Weehoo and Greta and then Thorsen finished it up. I like showing them how to set a goal, accomplish it and celebrate!

I want to teach my kids how to support someone when they have worked hard and support others on the course as well and have fun while we do it. My family has become quite famous on the course with their ‘Trav’ shirts.

My Name is Shanna and this is Why I Ride

WhyI-RideRTBWA-Shanna.jpg Well, I am riding for two people. 8 years ago, my dear friend and grandmother figure, passed away from COPD after living with the disease for 15 years. I was at her bedside when she passed and it was the hardest thing to be a part of. She told me so many times how much she wished that she wouldn’t have ever smoked. It really made me start to become an advocate for quitting smoking and helping to educate people, mostly younger people, the real dangers of smoking.

The second person that I am riding in honor of is my father-in-law. He too, has COPD and has been battling for several years. Unfortunately, he is too stubborn to listen to me. I, myself, am an asthmatic. I grew up with parents that smoked in the home, car, and all around me. I don’t think they really realize how detrimental to my health that was, let alone their own.

I would love my grandson to grow up in a smoke free world. I would love to see a smoke free world and hopefully we can convince this next generation to never pick it up!

My Name is Stephen and this is Why I Ride

Stephen One of my dear friends developed Hodgkin Disease early in her live, and lost one of her lungs because of it. I'm not sure if perhaps that's related to a lung disease but I love riding, and I love Reach the Beach rides - both Oregon and Washington events. Many riders and supporters are very dedicated.

If the money raised helps someone somehow then great. Thank you for your hard work to make it all happen.

My name is Mark, and this is why I ride.

WhyI RideRTBWA-Mark.jpgThe reason I ride is to help the American Lung Association raise funds to:

  1. Teach children to not start smoking,
  2. Provide funds to lobby legislators in Olympia to pass bills like Tobacco 21 which was just approved in the State Legislature and
  3. Support smoking cessation programs for current smokers.

I started smoking when I entered the University of Washington at the age of 18 and smoked for 20 years. In 1993, I quit in 3 days with no cravings, no weight gain or other side effects, just mind over matter. I was very lucky, as most people have to try many times before actually kicking the habit. As an American Lung Association Leadership Board member, I am able to see what we can accomplish with the support produced in our many fundraising events.

I am proud to be riding to raise funds to support the activities and mission of the American Lung Association in Washington.

My name is Adam, and this is why I ride.

whyiride_adam-2.png I spent 6.5 years working to help people trying to quit using tobacco products. In this time I saw the devastating effects of lung disease and how hard it is to stop smoking - a leading cause of lung disease. I also love cycling. It fills me with life and energy. In addition to being a bike-commuter, cycling is my favorite way to experience the outdoors. I am riding to use my passion to reprjavascript:setFieldAndSubmit('s_wysiwyg',%20'none');esent all those who suffer from lung disease.

My name is Heidi, and this is why I ride.

RTB-WA-Heidi-Larson-Why-I-Ride.jpgThank you so much for everything! I seriously, no joke, have been crying daily...it's the excitement of our participation in this event, the support I'm receiving which is difficult to process but humbling, and Terry's enthusiasm to be doing something he loves and making a difference for people with lung disease such as myself! It's our first time fundraising for anything and we're completely overwhelmed with how much we've raised just in the last 12 days; we just keep celebrating with every donation!

I'm so glad you were able to see our post about the kids' fundraising stand!! Wasn't that great?! It was a ridiculously happy and tear filled day for sure! I met new neighbors and we shared stories of people they knew with lung disease. My favorite was a man who rode by on a scooter and even though the kids tried to charm him, he smirked and said maybe later...then he turned around at the corner and came back to say sorry he didn't have any small bills but wanted to say good luck...then he saw their sign and my daughter exclaimed it was for the ALAW because her mom has lung disease and asthma, and then he teared up and said his mom had COPD and his wife has asthma and he pulled out a $20 and handed it to her. He said it was the best cup of lemonade he'd ever had :) Amazing, right?! I still tear up when I share the story! Anyways, I'm honored you'd want to share our story...go right ahead! Our daughter has now made over $300 selling her bracelets - after the stand she's made a couple hundred more selling them at various gatherings of friends! Proud parents and she feels so great knowing she's helping! In her Girl Scout troop this past year they earned a badge on Philanthropy and I told her she's already put that into action on her own with this! Anyways, I could chat your ear off, but it's the weekend and you get to go home and enjoy the nice weather!

Looking forward to the next event before the event! :)

My name is Adam, and this is why I ride.

whyiride_adam-2.png I spent 6.5 years working to help people trying to quit using tobacco products. In this time I saw the devastating effects of lung disease and how hard it is to stop smoking - a leading cause of lung disease. I also love cycling. It fills me with life and energy. In addition to being a bike-commuter, cycling is my favorite way to experience the outdoors. I am riding to use my passion to reprjavascript:setFieldAndSubmit('s_wysiwyg',%20'none');esent all those who suffer from lung disease.

My name is Ken and this is why I ride.

RTBWA-why-I-ride-ken-williams.pngI ride for my Dad. He passed away about 7 years ago, primarily from complications of COPD. My dad quit smoking about 20 years prior, but also served in the U.S. Airforce including flying reconnaissance missions during Vietnam.

Additionally, my sister became afflicted with an allergic side effect to medication called Stephens-Johnson's Syndrome. She suffered internal blistering of food and air pathways, including lung tissue. She now suffers from symptoms similar to COPD such as Chronic Bronchitis, recurring pneumonia, chronic coughing, difficulty breathing with occasional use of an inhaler.

I strongly feel awareness needs to be raised regarding effects on the lungs (and other vital body systems) following Stephens-Johnson's which are not common but yet require much medical expertise and knowledge. Additionally, the more we can research symptom management and cures for all lung diseases, the more hope there will be to find relief and possible cures for the many unrelated syndromes and diseases which cause similar symptoms and conditions in the respiratory systems.


My name is Bill and this is why I ride.

whyiride_bill-2.pngI ride Reach the Beach - Washington and Oregon for my dad. My dad was an avid cyclist, cutting more of an old-school image, as he pedaled along on his old Schwinn upright, with an old wire basket on the front for his Thermos and a good book for those frequent stops on a quiet riverbank or an ocean viewpoint he so enjoyed. He rode a southern route across the country, in his 60’s, broken into 3 legs, over the course of a couple of years, when he had to take time out to recuperate from a heart attack along a rural road in New Mexico. Dad succumbed to lung cancer a few years ago but still rides with me through rain and shine, on RTB, and solo rides. I miss my hero.


My name is Ted and this is why I ride.

Why I Ride - TedI rode in the inaugural Reach the Beach Washington ride last year. It was an amazing ride! The ride was very well supported, the volunteers were great, and the weather even cooperated! The last few miles riding along the ocean was pure magic. I would recommend this ride to anyone!


My name is Nikki and this is why I ride.

Why I Ride RTBWA-NikkiI ride because I’ve struggled with asthma all my life and I watched my mother struggle with it before me. Air pollution is a serious contributing factor to my asthma and I want to do everything I can to educate about and promote clean air initiatives so everyone can enjoy the outdoors without worrying about their health. I also just love to be outside and to ride my bike.


My name is Travis and this is why I ride.

Why I Ride RTBWA-TravisI ride because I want to show my kids how to live a healthy lifestyle and have an activity we can do together as a family. Supporting the American Lung Association and this event was how I accomplished my first century ride! It’s also important to show them how to set a goal and work hard towards accomplishing it, especially when it benefits such a great cause. They make it easier when I see them at the finish line cheering me on!


My name is Natalia and this is why I ride for my dad.

Why I Ride for Leszek GormleyOn February 27, my dad Leszek Gormley, U.S. Army Veteran, Machinist, Husband, Father, and Grandfather, passed away from Stage IV Lung Cancer after a short 6 month fight. My dad had such a will to overcome his illness and was such a fighter that it was heartbreaking that his chance to beat this was cut short..

My husband and I will be participated in the American Lung Association's Ride Around The Sound - Washington in honor of my dad. Few know that lung cancer is the most common cancer-related death, taking more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. When my coworker shared with me that she rode with the American Lung Association for her family members affected by lung disease, I knew it was perfect timing. This was the closure I needed, to say good bye to my dad since I didn’t have the opportunity. I started training for the long distance. My husband agreed to join me; even though he is stationed with the Navy on a submarine hundreds of feet underwater, he is training on a stationary bike until he gets back on land.

We are honored to be around so many people who have dedicated their time and health to help families who are suffering get the cures and help that they need. Know that you can spread the word of how important it is to fund research for lung disease. Even sharing with one person is powerful and sends an amazing message.

Natalia and Timothy Mayes
Team Leszek Gormley

Our names are Emma and Bradley and this is why we ride.

Emma and Bradley Handziuk Round CornersI found growing up in Atlanta, air quality was something that affected our day to day life. Often in the summer, the air quality would be so bad that children and older adults were advised not to spend time outside. Not being able to go outside in the summer -- what a miserable way to live!

Bradley re-introduced me to my childhood love of bicycling. Now we both bike for our daily commute, trips to the store, and exploring Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and many of the other places we go for vacation. Training for this ride is a healthy, low emissions way of spending time together.

We hope that by participating in this ride, we will also inspire those around us to think about decreasing their carbon footprint, choosing a bike over a car when possible, and donating to the American Lung Association toward their efforts to help improve our air quality.

Thank you for your support. You are making a difference.

Emma and Bradley Handziuk
The Handy Handziuks

My name is Nikki and this is why I ride.

RTBWA-Why-We-Ride-Nikki.pngI have been participating in the ALA Reach the Beach Ride for the last 6 years because it represents a cause that is close to me. I grew up with a mother who was in and out of the hospital throughout my childhood because she couldn’t afford the asthma medicine that was available to her.

I have asthma as well and, in the last few years, there have been times when I have found myself in the emergency room because the air quality in Seattle was so bad, I could not breathe on my own.

To me, these separate events, occurring twenty-five years apart, suggest the following:

  • There is a dire lack of research funding for affordable treatments and cures for asthma and other lung diseases.
  • Environmental air concerns should be a top priority to scientists and policy makers. When a single person cannot afford to breathe, when the air in our atmosphere is not breathable, the issue has become about fighting for life. Which is why, I participate in the ALA’s Reach the Beach Ride. It gives me a way to fight.

Nikki Dodd

Thank You to Our Local Sponsors

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