40 family members, friends and cycling teammates made a chilly splash because of 56 year old Creighton Rider, a man who really should not have been there. The average life expectancy after an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis is two to five years. Rider is still standing seven years after he got the news.
"I really think being surrounded by a great group of friends, staying active and enjoying life, enjoying the moment has really kept me going," Rider told ABC4 News.
"Ever since he was diagnosed, he's been living by the motto 'Live Til You Die'," Creighton's son, Matt Rider said. "That's just kind of taken over everything we've done as a family to try to make the most of the time we have left."
"I know that he wasn't supposed to make it this long," family friend Andrew Williams added. "I know that he's here for a reason and he's an inspiration to every one of us."
Rider's sister in law Katie Rice said that he lives his motto daily.
"He's climbed the 29 highest peaks in Utah and has planted a cute little CR coin at each of the peaks," Rice said. "He just continues to look for ways to make the most out of every day."
That includes competing in the Saints to Sinners bike relay, a grueling 520 mile trek from Salt Lake to Las Vegas. He now rides recumbent on a specially designed bike. ALS has affected Creighton's arms and speech but can never touch his mind and spirit.
"A victim with ALS never loses their mental capacity," Rider explained. "So essentially at the end of all this stuff you could be trapped in a shell unable to communicate although your brain your thoughts your emotions are running normally."
Creighton knows it's too late for a medical breakthrough to save him but helping others with ALS is on his bucket list.
"There's no cure. There's no way to win this battle," Rider said. "We need to donations to go into research for treatments, therapies and drugs so we can slow down or stop this disease."
For more information or to make a donation to ALS research, go to http://www.alsa.org/
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