Al Reszel, Pink Pedals 4 A Cure/Terry’s Ride

“Tests, surgeries, biopsies, sleepless nights and a ton of stress – she had to go through all of that, and all I had to do was ride 500 miles on my bike.”

Al Reszel ’80, a cycling hobbyist, has been married to his wife, Terry, for 38 years. After Terry was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, Al’s cycling hobby turned into something much more.

About one out of eight women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of their lifetime, according to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF.) After learning that statistic, Al made the decision to create a fundraising event to show his support for his wife and raise money for the BCRF. So the idea of Pink Pedals 4 A Cure/Terry’s Ride – a 500 mile bike ride through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois – was put into motion.   

The journey began on June 4, as Al and Terry departed from Afton State Park in Minnesota at 8:30 a.m. Al biked an average 93 miles per day, with Terry following closely behind him in the support car with tons of snacks and water. “Terry stayed with me through the whole ride, stopping to eat lunch with me each day and dropping me off at a different hotel every night,” says Al.

Six days later, after many more hills than he expected, Al arrived in Geneva, IL on June 9 around 3:00 p.m. where he was greeted by all of his family and other supporters.

After meeting as seniors in high school, Al attended Lewis University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. After working as a loan officer trainee and doing a lot of traveling, Al and Terry moved to Minnesota about 20 years ago. Shortly after, Al took a position as a National Sales Manager at Wells Fargo for about ten years. As a dedicated employee, he was offered a job in California for the company, but he decided to take an early retirement package instead. Having gone back to school to obtain a Master’s in Special Education from Virginia State University, he has enjoyed working as a high school special education teacher for the past five years.

Al began cycling about 25 years ago, when a good friend, and avid bike rider, got him hooked. Today, Al rides approximately 150 miles per week. With eight months of training under his belt, Al says he has “biked 80 and 90 miles in a day before, but never back to back like this.”

Having been affected by Terry’s diagnosis back in 2010, Al participated in other cycling fundraisers and events in Minnesota, but Al wanted to do something bigger and better for his wife.

“Our main goal with this ride was to raise awareness,” says Al. “We raised nearly $5,000, had 10,000 hits on Facebook and about 5,000 people view our video. This ride was successful and it definitely did what we intended it to do, which was make people aware of the problem.”

However, he did not do it all alone. Al, Terry and their whole family have dedicated themselves to raising money, and more importantly awareness, to find a cure for this overwhelming disease and stop it once and for all. Besides Al’s constant support from Terry and their children, his brother and fellow alumnus Kevin Reszel '84, owning his own marketing company, helped get the word out about this fundraiser. In fact, Kevin and Al are working together very closely to gain corporate sponsorships for Al’s next ride, since his first ride was independently funded. Al and his family have plans for a ride from Seattle to Chicago that will take about 50 days.

Married at the young age of 18, Al quickly had to learn how to manage his time among his rigorous academics, a marriage and different part-time jobs. “Sometimes, you have to put in a little extra effort to get the job done,” says Al. “Work hard and good things will happen to you.”

August 2016

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