Team Fox New Member Moment: Chris Smith and Rachel Hogue (AKA “Chrachel”)

Today's Team Fox New Member Moment shines a spotlight on first time Team Fox members Chris Smith and Rachel Hogue (AKA "Chrachel"). This adventurous couple set off on the cross-country bike tour of a lifetime this past May, riding from Maine all the way to the northern California coastline (an estimated 5,900 miles). By the end of this nearly 80-day endurance feat, Chris and Rachel will have made their mark on more than just our country's open roads; they will have also made their mark on the PD community. Thankfully, we were able to catch Chris and Rachel in between bursts of vigorous peddling to ask them a few questions and learn more about their incredible story. Here's what they had to say about their journey on two wheels:

What motivated you two to take on this endurance challenge together?

Rachel: I've gotten to know Chris and his family very well, and they are all very close to my heart. Riding for his dad, Tim, and the others suffering from Parkinson's disease seemed like a no brainer.

What was your inspiration behind joining Team Fox?

Chris: It frustrates me to see the physical and emotional toll that PD has taken on my father. Sitting back and watching his disease progress without being able to help has been very difficult. Joining Team Fox was the best way I could think of to contribute to the effort of finding new, more effective treatments, and ultimately, a cure.

Why do you ride?

Chris: I ride because it is my way of trying to live a healthy life. It gets me outside to new places and often helps me meet new people. For those reasons, riding seemed like the perfect medium for spreading the mission of Team Fox.

What role has this journey played on your fight to speed a cure?

Rachel: This has been a physically and emotionally challenging experience that has forced me out of my comfort zone in so many ways. It has pushed me to ask others for help in situations where I don't have the resources to do something on my own. I never realized how much courage this can take, how vulnerable it can make me feel. It's not a fair comparison, but I hope that it has given me a very small glimpse of the courage that individuals living with Parkinson's must possess. From being unable to climb up a ladder to patch the roof, to being ashamed to go out in public with a tremor — tasks that once did not require a second thought may be extremely difficult for PD patients. This trip is a constant reminder of howgenerous and kind others can be, and it has taught me to always be open-minded and gracious towards others.

Thank you, Chris and Rachel, for sharing your inspiring story and for helping us speed a cure! Check out some of these great photos from the road, as shared on their personal blog www.chrachel.com.

Interested in joining an upcoming Team Fox cycling event? Check out some of the many opportunities to ride for a cure, including the Tour de Fox Wine Country Ride and the New England Parkinson's Ride

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