Families continue to benefit from Great American Bike Race as fundraiser goes virtual

Local News

Grant Edwards is an 11-year-old who loves baseball, especially the Boston Red Sox.

“When I was six, I got to go to Boston and meet David Ortiz, a player for the Red Sox. We got to watch the whole game and I got to meet more people than just him,” Edwards said.

He’s also this year’s star for Sanford Health’s Great American Bike Race, or GABR.

It’s an event that raises money for children with cerebral palsy and other developmental conditions. About 125 to 150 families benefit each year.

“It’s pretty cool to kind of be the face of it this year,” Edwards said.

Edwards has muscular dystrophy, a rare genetic disease that causes the muscles to become weak and damaged over time.

He’s needed equipment to help him get around, some of which isn’t covered by insurance, but is covered by GABR.

“Every year we’ve had just a few new things that come up that we find out Grant needs over time. The latest one was the scooter, and that’s been amazing,” Grant’s mom, Mallory, said.

Next weekend marks the 25th annual GABR– and the second year in a row it’ll be held virtually because of COVID. In the past, dozens would gather on stationary bikes, pedaling away to raise awareness and money for the cause.

Since it started, the race has given about $4 million to help families in western North Dakota. On average, the in-person event raises about $375,000, but last year’s raised $232,000.

“To have another virtual event where revenue likely won’t be what we’re used to or what we need it to be, is certainly a concern of ours,” Sanford Health Executive Director Sara Haugen said.

Haugen says the decision to hold the event online wasn’t easy, but she still gets to see the impact it has on families — especially the GABR stars like Grant and Nora Frank.

“I have a thank you note from Nora’s grandma actually. It says ‘ Dear GABR. Thanks so much for helping my granddaughter, Nora. Because of you she’s had a chance to grow and experience new things and we’re so grateful,'” That’s why,” Haugen said.

This year’s fundraising goal is $400,000. As of Friday afternoon, GABR is at about $145,000.

For more information about the race, how to register a team or donate, head here.

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