This August, Devan Mizzoni ’13 and her friend Elisabeth Geraci will embark on a six-day, 441-mile bicycle ride around all 11 of New York’s Finger Lakes to raise awareness of Parkinson’s Disease.
Mizzoni and Geraci were inspired to organize the event after Geraci’s father, an avid cyclist and Finger Lakes resident was diagnosed with the degenerative movement disorder, which has since made it difficult for him to enjoy the sport.
“We found cycling around the Finger Lakes to be a great activity and perfect venue for fundraising for a cause that is so important to us,” explains Mizzoni, who is working on her master’s in international development at the University of Vienna.
She and Geraci will be fundraising for the Davis Phinney Foundation (DPF), founded by former professional competitive bicycle racer Davis Phinney, who championed two stages of the Tour de France and won the 1988 Coors Classic. Phinney was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s in 2000.
Founded in 2004, DPF works with researchers and healthcare professionals around the world to create programs and provide resources that benefit those with Parkinson’s and their families. According to the DPF website, the organization “has invested more than $3.8 million in initiatives to support, inform and inspire people living with Parkinson’s to live well today. More than $2 million in research funding has been invested in innovative, early-phase studies that focus on exercise, speech, movement and other factors that affect quality of life.”
“Engaging with and serving in the Geneva community is something that was consistently emphasized by faculty, staff and my fellow classmates, and it’s something I really appreciated about the Colleges,” Mizzoni says.
By organizing the bike ride and raising funds for DPF, she hopes to engage the greater Finger Lakes community “so that together we can have a positive impact on the lives of people living with Parkinson’s,” she says.
Read more about the David Phinney Foundation and Mizzoni’s trip.
In the photo above, Devan Mizzoni ’13 (right) stands with her friend Elisabeth Geraci.