Can you help a fellow cyclist out? Keith McRae is just 28 years old but he's been diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's disease. A long-term sufferer from depression, Keith's only escape is cycling, but the new diagnosis means that he'll have to switch from two wheels to three. Without the funds to set himself up with a recumbent trike he's turned to the cycling community for help, and the good news is he's already nearly half way there.
We don't know him as Keith round these parts, but as Gkam84; he's been a regular contributor on road.cc for a couple of years, racking up a post count in excess of even some of the people that work here full time; he's active on other cycling forums too. And it's thanks in no small part to the generosity of the forum-goers on this site that his trike fund has got this far. But it needs a boost, so Keith has also been approaching cycling teams and companies to donate prizes that he can auction or raffle to keep the money trickling in. So far he's already received items from Philippe Gilbert, Yanto Barker, Richard Mitchelson and a host of professional teams.
"My only passion in life is cycling," Keith says on his GoFundMe page. "I can escape everything while out on my bike. This has become almost impossible lately though, because my balance has become affected. I have tried asking friends, family, charities and companies for help with the expense of a new bike so that I am at least able to keep enjoying the one thing that gets me through all the bad times. I’ve even sold off my bikes I did have, without coming near the price of a recumbent." But the cycling community is rallying round to help get him back on two wheels. Well, three.
"I found it very hard to finally publish my GoFundMe page, not knowing how it would go down with people in this age of austerity when people are watching the pennies more than ever," Keith told us. "But it seems to have struck a chord with many and after it was posted by a user on road.cc, it took off from there. I have been truly amazed by the response I've had from everyone in the cycling community and some who don't even have a connection with cycling at all."
The response to the requests for auction items has been really good too. "Over the last two weeks, I've had more than 200 mentions, replies and retweets on Twitter, to add to 53 emails from various companies, teams and riders who have responded to my tweets, either asking how they could help or giving me information of those who could help. Having contacted many pro teams and riders through email and twitter, their response has been awesome, many items are promised and in the post to me, to auction/raffle off to raise even more funds towards my target." The auction isn't live yet, and won't be until Keith has all the stuff he's been promised and decides exactly what to do with it, but when it does go live we'll let you know on here.
More important even than the money, though, is the change it's made in Keith himself. "Every email or tweet I get raises my spirits even more," he told us. It has given me so much confidence that I have ventured out on my own, just a walk around the block, but two weeks ago, I would never have done that. So not only I am raising money to get myself a recumbent trike, but I am drawing on all the positives that this campaign has had. Its changing my life in ways I could never have imagined."
If you can help Keith out at all, head over to his GoFundMe page - every little helps. And we'll post details of the raffle when we have them.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.