Evan Butters honors his grandfather by raising funds for Alzheimer’s research
By Priyanka Sinha
Photography by Sonya Revell
atching his role model and grandfather, Benjamin Goldman, slowly succumb to Alzheimer’s disease propelled Evan Butters into the world of fundraising.
“Before my grandfather passed away, I would visit him often, even when he no longer knew who I was due to his illness,” said Butters. “Alzheimer’s is a devastating condition, and seeing its effects firsthand pushed me to do something about it.”
Motivated by Goldman’s love of cycling, Butters launched Biking for Ben, an annual cycling event that raises money for the Miller School of Medicine’s John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics. Its director, Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., is a renowned geneticist who discovered the first major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease in 1993.
Since the first event in 2018, Biking for Ben has raised more than $45,000. These funds contributed to the purchase of a Keyence BX-810 fluorescent microscope that has helped Dr. Pericak-Vance and her colleagues accelerate their research into the functional effects of Alzheimer’s genes in cellular models of disease.
“We’re immensely grateful for Evan’s support,” said Dr. Pericak-Vance, who is also the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Professor of Human Genetics. “He’s helping us advance our research and identify genetic-based drug targets for Alzheimer’s while also raising awareness about this devastating disease.”
For Butters, Biking for Ben honors the remarkable bond he shared with his grandfather.
“When I completed the 30-mile route of our first event with one of the bicycles my grandfather left me, I felt like I had fulfilled a promise,” said Butters.
To support Alzheimer’s research at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, visit miami.edu/AlzheimersResearch.