By KIRSTEN MITCHELL
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (WCCO) — A Wisconsin woman with roots in Minnesota is finding new meaning after being diagnosed with the life-changing disease of ALS.
Pedaling with a purpose, Claire Schultz Bergman finished a 350 trek from Madison to her hometown of Minneapolis to raise money for ALS research. She was joined by family members and friends along the week-long journey.
“I was thinking a lot this week about the people who have a shorter fight than I seem to have,” she said.
The endurance athlete was diagnosed with a slow-progressing variant of ALS in November of 2022.
“At this point my right arm is really affected it’s pretty weak and my left arm is getting weak,” she said.
Though she still can ride a bike, she says she has stopped running and swimming. It’s a life-altering diagnosis for the athlete who ran her first marathon with her dad 1996 and went on to do several more. She finished the Ironman Wisconsin in 2021.
“She completed Ironman Wisconsin less than two years ago and then to go from kind of that iron person way of identifying than to this past winter being diagnosed with ALS It was just sort of night and day,” her husband Cal Bergman said.
Claire’s husband and daughter rode with her all the way as others joined for portions of the route. By the end, they raised more than $36,000 for ALS research.
“I think bringing the attention to ALS and hopefully raising the money so there is better treatments to make the disease livable and eventually find a cure will allow more people to do the things they love a lot longer,” she said.
Her family and loved ones say they will be cheering her on to the next finish line and beyond.
“You have to sort of carry on. You know, this is a terrible diagnosis, but I can do a lot of things still and they see that and I think that’s been helpful,” she said.
The money raised will go toward ALS research seeking better treatments and a cure.
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