Erica Beal already knows where she’ll be on July 18th – on the back of a bike as part of Rides4ALZ.
As a CEO and 21-year military spouse, she knows how to get things done. Over the years, Erica has helped Rides4ALZ grow in impact and reach through her connections within the veteran community. She and her husband, Jeremy, are excited to once again participate in this year’s virtual ride.
Keep reading to find out how she is changing lives through her passionate Alzheimer’s advocacy.
Q: What made you get involved with Alzheimer’s San Diego and Rides4ALZ?
A: First and foremost, it is an honor to participate in helping Alzheimer’s San Diego. This cause is very important and personal to our family. I was one of the first members from SDG&E to serve this organization. I loved being involved with the development and helping to introduce multiple sponsors. I am also proud that many of them are still actively supporting the organization.
Q: What sponsor do you work for?
A: I am now the CEO and Founder of AVIVV, a certified women and minority firm that provides professional services to the gas and electric utility industry. I am very happy to share my support for Alzheimer’s San Diego, so now I get to advocate directly with AVIVV employees. Also…good news, we recruited more riders! And we are excited to join SDG&E and all the other wonderful sponsors at this year’s virtual ride.
Q: Tell me about your husband’s participation in the ride. How many years? His favorite part? What route are you planning to ride?
A: My husband is a decorated Navy SEAL and currently serves as a US Navy SEAL Warrant Officer. Jeremy has participated in the ride the past three years. His favorite part last year was serving as a Ride Lead for one group. It meant a lot for him to be able to actively participate and contribute to the success of the event. In July, we will be riding the same route as the previous year. It is such a gorgeous ride, why mess with perfection!
Q: What inspires you to continue to support Rides4ALZ?
A: I connect deeply with our veteran community. We have a strong tribe that supports and raises awareness through riding. Rides4ALZ is another avenue to educate the public about Alzheimer’s and to provide charitable contributions for research to find a cure.
Q: Do you have a personal connection to the disease?
A: Yes, a deep, personal connection — my Grandma Garcia was diagnosed with it and lived ten years with her mind further deteriorating each time we visited her.
Here is her story: I remember my Grandma Garcia as a wise, witty, and joyful storyteller. She was a walking encyclopedia possessing a wealth of knowledge, sharing generational stories of our family. Sadly, at the age of 85, Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Gradually, we lost Grandma’s stories, and she would forget our names often. Grandma Garcia lived to 95 years old, and one week before our loss, I visited her to hear one last story. She looked at me and said, “you remind me of a little girl that used to come to visit me.” I am thankful for all the beautiful experiences and stories with Grandma Garcia. Currently, there is no cure for this horrible disease, but I believe providing awareness helps the community preserve these special memories.
Q: Why is it important for you to support a local organization?
A: It is important for me because I care about my community. I share and connect with my community’s concerns. I want to make a positive difference in the lives of those around me.
Q: How has Rides4ALZ changed over the years?
A: The Ride continues to increase in participation each year. It also has increased awareness and people have become more responsive to those in need. They have continued to recruit more sponsors and have enabled many to become more educated on what Alzheimer’s San Diego does for the community and what their aspirations are as an organization. I also love the deep community connection with the military community. As a military spouse, we have a huge network of riders that love these types of community events. So to anyone who has not yet joined, join today! You will be proud that you did!
Click here to sign up for Rides4ALZ 2020 or to make a donation. To learn more about the ride and Alzheimer’s San Diego, contact Noelle Woolway at 858-966-3310 or email@example.com.