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Rob Kuntz - Team Amgen

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This will be my eighth time riding this incredible tour down the California Coast! This continues to be a profound experience for me as it presents an opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of those suffering from Arthritis as well as the privilege of getting to meet remarkable people and patients. I’m raising money to fund a cure for arthritis and to honor those who live with this debilitating disease.

I encourage everyone to experience this ride at least once in their lifetime, but all too often my pleas are ignored. Let me be clear: This ride is NOT about me! Cycling isn’t even my favorite sport or hobby… so if you’re wondering why I ride. Here’s why:

- Ken Kuntz, my father whose passion was to play the piano and entertain others was all too often frustrated by his inability to make his fingers dance on the keys the way they once did because of arthritis-related flare-ups. He passed away in 2013 and continues to serve as a huge inspiration for me.

- My donors, who send touching notes about loved ones affected by the disease… who have absolutely no idea how their stories inspire and encourage me. Their stories inspire me to ride with a purpose, and to raise money and raise awareness about this disease.

- The patients, whose physical limitations are significant. Arthritis is not just an inconvenience, it's acute and chronic inflammation. It is pain, swelling, and stiffness that can damage tissue irreparably. It's any one of over 100 ailments that affect every part of the body, from joints to skin to eyesight and more. It's an autoimmune disease that affects over 300,000 children in the US and more than 53 million Americans.

- The children, like my good friend Lily Hicks. Did you know that children with arthritis outnumber those with juvenile diabetes, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy combined? Juvenile arthritis is a serious problem!!! Because of this bike ride, kids get to go to summer camp where they can be with others just like them. Other kids who take the same medications, receive the same infusions, have as many trips to the doctor’s office and suffer the same pain and isolation. In April, Erika and I had the pleasure to visit the camp, meet Dr. Brown, and hang out with some of the kids and their families. This place is a amazing and I wish every kid suffering from arthritis could go.

- My fellow cyclists – The riders on the tour who get on their bikes despite the muscle aches and soreness each and every morning who fight everything in their head telling them to just lay down and rest… especially the riders who suffer from arthritis. My hats off to you all. Each and every rider has a story to share and I enjoy hearing all of them.

- The awesome team at the Arthritis Foundation, an outstanding group of hard-working down-to-earth people who find a way to make amazing things happen. For 17 years, they’ve taken care of the cyclist and have this tour down to a science. They look out for us, they serve the patients and are wonderful ambassadors for the cause they represent. The Pacific Region of the Arthritis Foundation, where our funds all go, consistently receives a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator every year. This is the highest rating a nonprofit organization can receive for its sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency! This organization has earned my trust and is deserving of yours as well.

Thanks to corporate sponsors like Amgen whose contributions offset the operational cost of the ride, the money YOU donate goes straight towards research to find a cure and to help the children and patients who deserve our help cope with the disease.
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