VERMILLION, SD -
Forty years ago when Betty and Larry Smith got married, neither of them could have ever imagined how their lives would change because of Parkinson’s Disease.
“It was a shock and we went through our normal period of mourning and we realized no day is going to be better than this day, so we just started doing things,” Betty said.
After about ten years of traveling all over the world, Betty and Larry realized they still had more to do. So, that’s when Larry had an idea.
“Larry said he wanted to do a bicycle ride across South Dakota,” Betty said.
So that’s exactly what they did.
“We rode 320 miles across South Dakota from Aberdeen to Vermillion,” Betty said.
But, the Smiths weren’t alone for the ride. The couple also brought along a film crew.
“We just tried to take it day by day and really the film crew did all the work and we were just supposed to keep our ordinary existence, which is odd when you have a film crew following you around,” Betty said.
But Larry felt a little differently.
“I thought it was really cool,” Larry said.
Parkinson’s is a disease many of those working for Label Films have encountered firsthand. So, when the opportunity to follow the Smiths on their journey came up, the film crew didn’t hesitate to pack up and move to South Dakota.
“Many of us have Parkinson’s in our family, it’s something that has touched us all and a story we know is misunderstood,” Andrew Rubin, with the film crew, said.
So, day in and day out the crew followed the Smiths – showing everything from normal day to day life to the preparations for the bike ride and finally the journey itself.
“We wanted everyone to see a life, see how this affects life,” Rubin said.
So the Smiths stopped in towns and visited others battling the degenerative disease. In many cases, they too joined the Smiths on the road.
One of the most inspiring parts, for everyone involved was seeing Larry and others with Parkinson’s ride freely. And for Larry, he hopes people get one thing out of this.
“I realized people don’t know what Parkinson’s is,” Larry said.
Larry is helping change that. He raised awareness as he pedaled across the state. And now, the film crew that rode along is spreading that message far beyond South Dakota’s borders. Read more.
For more information on this film visits Ride With Larry’s website.
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