University of Portland
Contact: Joe Kuffner

UP student Sam Bridgman to host September 22 Ride Ataxia fundraiser bike ride on Sauvie Island

University of Portland student Sam Bridgman is organizing Ride Ataxia Portland, a fundraiser bike ride to be held on September 22 on scenic Sauvie Island. Route lengths of 6, 12, 25, 37 and 50 miles beginning at Sauvie Island Academy will be available for riders of all abilities.

Bridgman, a senior business student and manager for the Portland Pilots baseball team, was diagnosed with Freidreich’s Ataxia (FA) at age 15. FA is a debilitating, lifeshortening, degenerative neuro-muscular disorder that affects muscle coordination leading to symptoms such as scoliosis, diabetes and life-shortening heart complications. Bridgman is a well-known member of the UP community and has organized several events for FA research, including the Sam Jam wheelchair basketball game, which raised more than $6,000 in 2011. Sam has been profiled in a feature article in the Oregonian as well as in a short documentary film made by Jeff Kennel of the UP marketing office.

All money raised at Ride Ataxia Portland will benefit the Friedrich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to research leading to a cure for FA. Ride Ataxia cycling events across the country have raised invaluable awareness for FA and funded over $1 million in FA research grants in just 5 short years.

To register for Ride Ataxia Portland, visit Riders can register in teams or as individuals, and those unable to ride on September 22 can register to participate as a “virtual cyclist” and help fundraise. The ride is limited to 300 participants and is already filling up quickly.

Ride Ataxia Portland also offers all registered participants a delicious post ride meal courtesy of presenting sponsor Outback Steakhouse and T-shirts courtesy of University of Portland. Other sponsors include Sauvie Island Academy, Powerade, and Duck Produce Delivery. 

The mission of Ride Ataxia is to educate, enable, and empower: educate the public about Friedreich’s ataxia by drawing attention through acts of physical endurance, enable the advancement of Friedreich’s ataxia research through collaborative financial support, and empower ataxians by inspiring, motivating and providing opportunities to develop physical and mental strength. For more info please visit and

The University of Portland is an independently governed Catholic university guided by the Congregation of Holy Cross. U.S. News & World Report ranks the institution as one of the top ten regional universities in the West. It is the only school in Oregon to offer a College of Arts & Sciences, a graduate school, and nationally accredited programs in the schools of business, education, engineering, and nursing.

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