Conejo team to ride in LA Bike Tour for Parkinson's disease research

Debbie Jew and Jessica Chadbourn of  The Dynamic Duo tandem bike team were one of the top fundraisers for Team Parkinson LA.

Below is an article about Debbie & Jessica from the Ventura County Star Newpaper.



Conejo team to ride in LA Bike Tour for Parkinson's disease research

By Rachel McGrath
Saturday, May 23, 2009

Conejo Valley residents Jessica Chadbourn and Debbie Jew are gearing up for a 22-mile ride on a bicycle made for two at this year’s L.A. Marathon.

The pair has registered to take part in the Acura LA Bike Tour, which is part of the L.A. Marathon and begins at 5 a.m. in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Memorial Day, ahead of the big race.  The women will be raising money for Team Parkinson, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for research to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

The idea of riding a tandem in the event came after Chadbourn and Jew learned how research showed that the use of a two-seater bicycle can help people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

“Research showed that by having a person in front and a person with Parkinson’s in the back, (riding a tandem) reduced symptoms and reduced the sufferer’s shakiness,” Chadbourn said.

“We also saw it as a metaphor for going through life,” she said. “Everybody needs a little help, and there’s power in numbers.”

Chadbourn, 46, a freelance writer who lives in Westlake Village, and Jew, 48, an accountant from Thousand Oaks, acknowledge a 22-mile tandem bike ride is a fairly daunting challenge. They’ve been preparing by spending their Saturday and Sunday mornings training along the Ventura-to-Ojai bike path. They say it’s taken some time to get used to being a two-person team.

“I’m the front person,” Chadbourn said, “but she, Debbie, is a back seat driver. I go where she tells me.”

Jew says communication is the key to a successful tandem ride. “We motivate each other,” she said.

Chadbourn began raising awareness and money for Parkinson’s research about eight years ago after her uncle and her brother-in-law were diagnosed with the disease. She says that while cancer and AIDS have huge fundraising and research efforts behind them, Parkinson’s disease received less attention until actor Michael J. Fox revealed he had it and “unwittingly became the poster boy for it.”

Chadbourn and Jew met at a Parkinson’s fundraiser in Westlake Village two years ago and immediately hit it off. Jew says she’s in awe of Chadbourn’s advocacy for the disease. Chadbourn says she’s in awe of Jew’s dynamism and motivation.

Together, “The Dynamic Duo,” as they call themselves, have raised almost $12,000 in pledged sponsorship for the LA Bike Tour and are hoping to increase that during this last week before the event.

“We’re still working hard to raise more, and we’re just knocking on doors,” Jew said.

On the Net:

To find out more about Team Parkinson, or to sponsor ‘The Dynamic Duo,” go to http://www.team-parkinson.org.

© 2009 Ventura County Star

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