2018-06-13 / Front Page

Father/son bicyclists to ride for ALS

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


James and Caleb Fielder can be seen riding the back roads of Oregon Township near Torzewski Park getting ready for their four-day ride Aug. 29 from Michigan State University to the Mackinaw City. The pair will be riding to raise awareness for ALS, which claimed the life of their father and grandfather nearly a dozen years ago. 
Photo by Phil Foley James and Caleb Fielder can be seen riding the back roads of Oregon Township near Torzewski Park getting ready for their four-day ride Aug. 29 from Michigan State University to the Mackinaw City. The pair will be riding to raise awareness for ALS, which claimed the life of their father and grandfather nearly a dozen years ago. Photo by Phil Foley OREGON TWP. — James Fielder and his son, Caleb, will be joining hundreds of bicyclists later this summer for the epic DALMAC end-of-summer bicycle camping tour.

While the tour was founded 47 years ago by former state Rep. Dick Allen to raise cycling awareness and has grown to four routes with more than 2,000 participants, the Fielders will be riding to raise awareness for ALS.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), known by some people as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that effects about 6,000 people in the U.S. It has no cure or treatment and most of its victims die of respiratory failure within three to five years. Along with taking the life of 1930s baseball great Lou Gehrig, ALS claimed the life of Stephen Hawking.


Caleb Fielder (right) designed the T-shirt he and his father, James, will be wearing in the 2018 DALMAC, a bike tour from Lansing to the Mackinac Bridge. They expect to peddle eight to 10 hours to make the 412-mile trip. 
Photo by Phil Foley Caleb Fielder (right) designed the T-shirt he and his father, James, will be wearing in the 2018 DALMAC, a bike tour from Lansing to the Mackinac Bridge. They expect to peddle eight to 10 hours to make the 412-mile trip. Photo by Phil Foley James’ father, Jim, a retired GM engineer, lived with ALS for seven years before passing away in his sleep 11 year ago at his Indian River home. “It will be 12 years Labor Day,” said James. “We were blessed he went in his sleep.”

James, who’s been biking most of his 56 years, did the DALMAC 15 years ago for fun. This year he decided to do it as a father-son trip and Caleb decided to make it a fund raiser for ALS.

The 23-year-old Oakland University student wanted to do something to remember his grandfather because ALS gets too little attention. “Other than the ‘ice bucket challenge,’ there’s not much,” he said.

So, he created a website – webmi.alsa.org//goto/ team_ fielder. Caleb said they started out with a $500 goal and so far they’ve raised about $1,300, mostly through family, and they hope to top $2,000 by the time they start peddling Aug. 29 in Lansing.

James said his father first thought it might be an old boxing injury or something he did in the service, when his leg started bothering him. But when the doctor told him at 70 that it was ALS and he had two to three years to live, James said his father told the doctor, “I have my god to take care of me. I have my family to take care of me.”

His father went back to his home in Indian River and continued to hunt and fish, shooting a trophy buck from a wheelchair the year before he died.

Caleb said there are two forms of ALS, one with a genetic component. But, he said, ALS doesn’t appear to run in their family but he wants to raise funds for research anyway.

After they complete to their ride to Mackinaw City, the Fielders will meet at the family cabin in Indian River, about 30 miles south of the bridge. James said about 20 people will be wearing a T-shirt Caleb designed.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2018-06-13 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.