This edition of our Member Spotlight features Charity Miles member Grove Ayers! Grove has been a member of the Charity Miles community since the beginning and he is closing in on 40,000 miles! Check it out!
“I live in beautiful Coeur‘d Alene, Idaho. I work as an asset manager for Brookfield Properties. I run large regional shopping malls. I'm also on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation in Seattle.”
Grove’s involvement with Charity Miles began seven years ago in 2012 when Grove was a casual runner. “I was a runner off and on for years. I never truly “loved” running, but as I got older I knew I needed something to supplement my gym workouts. Once I heard about Charity Miles, everything changed.
“The app has changed my life. I was an inconsistent workout guy before. Now I've very dedicated. I use Charity Miles every single day. Often 2-4 workouts a day for different charities. I've gotten to know some incredible people, gotten to recruit some incredible people, and been thoroughly enriched by my involvement with CM and the CM community.
“Just as the app was launched a friend told me about it, saying she'd seen that the Michael J. Fox Foundation was one of the charities. I run, walk, and cycle for every single charity every year, but most of my miles have been for Parkinson’s research as my father lives with Parkinson’s Disease.
“In my first year of workouts, I only added 945 miles. After a while, I added cycling and built up my distance and endurance. Now I typically log about 5000+ miles a year (combined walking, working, hiking, and cycling). In early August, I surpassed the 35,000-mile mark.”
What does a usual workout look like for Grove? “I usually get up at 4:30 am and cycle for a couple of hours before work (usually 20-30 miles). Then, I use CM to log more miles walking at work, which varies from 2-8 miles. Those work walks are often for other charities to support friends or other CM teams I'm on.
“I almost never run anymore. I walk and hike and cycle. I prefer cycling because it's easier on my knees and I can see more sights while riding. For me, it's a combination of factors. Solitude. My bike time is a bit of selfish meditation/escape time. I typically ride at 5 am, so I get to catch some amazing sunrises. I'm lucky to live in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as I can experience 5 lakes on a normal 25-mile morning loop ride.”
As one of the original Charity Mile members, Grove has seen the app progress over time. “Watching the app grow and develop has been fantastic! I've been a staunch Charity Miles cheerleader since the very start and it's really inspiring to see the ways that the app has engaged, inspired, and enriched so many folks.
“I've been a beta-tester for several iterations of the app, so I've gotten to play with a few things early. The growth of sharing options has been cool to watch. The addition of teams was awesome. That added to growth as well as engagement. The changes in the donation model have been beneficial for all parties. It was a real kick to watch the surge of users around the intersection of Pokémon Go and CM. The latest enhancement of the Pledge Page has meant more money for the charities, which is great!”
In addition to his job as an asset manager, Grove serves on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation in Seattle. “I was asked to join the Board of Directors of the NWPF in Seattle a couple of years ago and I now serve on their Executive Committee, as VP and Secretary of the Board. We have a service area of over 1 million square miles (Alaska, Washington, Idaho, and Montana). Our mission is to establish optimal quality of life for the Northwest Parkinson's community through awareness, education, advocacy, and care.
“NWPF achieves our mission through many programs that support specialty care, produce and distribute free educational and support resources, promote events that contribute positively to the Parkinson's community, raise awareness of Parkinson's disease and develop self-care tools that help improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s, their care partners and families. My involvement in the Parkinson’s community has been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”
So what’s next for Grove? “I'm 56 years old. I'm not trying to set any speed or altitude records. Because of my schedule most of my early morning rides are solo, but a lot of my work-walk miles and hiking miles are with others. I'd actually like to do some group rides or some distance relays at some point.
“I want to hit 40,000 CM next spring. I want to have a 100-mile Charity Miles Day in 2020 (more than a bit aspirational as my best day so far has been a little over 50). I have a list of people I want to ride Charity Miles with.”
Good luck with all your future goals Grove! Your miles have made a huge difference to date and we know you will continue to make an impact in the future!
Do you have an interesting Charity Miles story? Share it with us!