RideForPKD kickoff party on Saturday
Vail local to ride over 5,300 miles across America this summer for Polycystic Kidney Disease
On May 1, Glenn Frommer will embark on the RideForPKD, a 5,300-mile bike ride across America through 18 states and over 200,000 vertical feet of climbing all for one cause: Polycystic Kidney Disease.
The 60-year-old, who now calls Vail home, is raising awareness and funds to find a cure. In 2014, Frommer had a back injury and went in for an MRI and came out of the appointment learning that he had PKD.
“I’d never heard of PKD and just said, ‘Okay, give me whatever you give to patients with this disease’ and they said, ‘Oh, no, you don’t understand, this is an uncurable, untreatable, progressive disease,’ and I felt so vulnerable,” Frommer said.
At first, Frommer kept the information to himself.
“I was the patriarch of our family, the guy who took care of everybody else, and I didn’t want anyone to worry about me. The only person I told was my wife, Beth,” Frommer said.
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Frommer got connected to the PKD Foundation through a nephrologist and started doing some research and recognized that 600,000 Americans have PKD. He also started going to conferences, meeting people that run the PKD Foundation and learning about research and grants.
“Each year there are about 50 research grant proposals that come in, but the foundation only has enough money to fund six or seven of those. What happens if the treatment or the cure is in one of the proposals that doesn’t get the funding? I thought, right then and there, we need more money, how can I help?”
Frommer’s figurative wheels started spinning, and he realized that his experience being a venture capitalist, running small companies and investing in start-up businesses could help him figure out how to fund this cause. He also had caught the philanthropy bug and wanted to give back. He’d been an avid cyclist for over 35 years, so why not combine these passions and skills and turn having PKD into a positive?
The RideForPKD was created about a year ago, and Frommer thought he was going to try to do it all by himself, much like how he was trying to battle PKD. Then, he realized in order to make this fundraiser a success and raise the needed money for PKD research, he need to invite family and friends to help.
His wife of 37 years, Beth, will drive the RV across the country, his sister has a public relations firm and is spreading the word, his niece is a graphic designer and worked on the logo and all the artwork, his uncles will help drive the RV and help with events on the road and his sons will be bringing their band, The Cheeks, up to EagleVail to play music during the kickoff party on April 16.
“Beth has been unbelievable, she didn’t sign up for this when I first thought of it, but she has been a tremendous partner the whole way. It’s really become a family affair, and I didn’t expect that when I first started this, so the family has been very supportive,” Frommer said.
Frommer has three objectives for the RideForPKD. The first is to raise a minimum of $500,000, the second is to increase awareness. The third objective is to build community.
“It affects the person and the family, since it is genetic. So, we want people to learn more about it, sign up for trials, encourage more people to participate. If we don’t participate, we will never find a cure for the disease. We want to do this to give people hope,” Frommer said.
The RideForPKD is following an indirect route across America, starting at the Golden Gate Bridge State Park on May 1 and ending on Sept. 1 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
“We’re not biking west to east in a straight line. Every one of these cities on the route has either a chapter of the PKD Foundation or a research institute so I wanted to stop there and connect the money we are raising from generous donors with where the money is going,” Frommer said.
Frommer invites bikers to ride with him along the way, whether it’s just for part of the day or a week. He will be spending June 10 through June 24 in Colorado and will be coming through Vail on June 15 and 16. Riders are being asked to register and commit to raising a minimum of $250 on behalf of the charity. The PKD Foundation supports riders with an events page and will keep track of the donations with all money raised going directly to the PKD Foundation.
So far, Frommer’s fundraising efforts have brought in more than $250,000 and the PKD Outreach Foundation (pkDO) is matching all RideForPKD donations throughout the month of April up to $50,000.
“It’s really been so rewarding emotionally,” Frommer said. “It hasn’t been easy, but I’m blown away with how giving people are. It gives me tremendous faith in humanity and makes me so proud to be a part of this community that is so generous.”
Help raise money prior to the ride by attending the kickoff party from 5 to 9 p.m. at the EagleVail Pavilion with a catered dinner, drinks, dancing and silent auction.
Learn more about the RideForPKD, how to raise money and how you can ride with Frommer at RideForPKD.org.
What: A benefit for the RideForPKD, raising funds to find a cure for Polycystic Kidney Disease. Come join Glenn Frommer and his family for live music by The Cheeks, dinner, dancing and a silent auction.
Where: EagleVail Pavilion
When: Saturday, April 16, 5 to 9 p.m.