The important cause behind Honey Badger motorcycle group's Longest Day Ride in Virginia

Knutson: 'You just get a wave of that grief. I got it last night. I miss my mom... She was my best friend. It’s hard to fill that void.'
Longest Day charity ride
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Wasshund dine and donate WTIW Honey Badgers Chapter.jpg
Posted at 7:34 PM, May 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-14 19:34:00-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — For those who have lost their mothers, Mother's Day weekend can be difficult.

Lisa Thompson is once again using her grief to fuel her efforts, along with her motorcycle group Women in the Wind's Honey Badger chapter, to raise money in support of the Alzheimer's Association.

On June 24, WITW's Honey Badger chapter hits the streets in Virginia Beach for the 6th Annual Longest Day Ride. 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Alzheimer's Association, she says, and, since the first ride in 2018, the event has brought in more than $50,000.

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Lisa Thompson says her mom had a love for motorcycles, eventually getting her own. Dee Rhode passed from Alzheimer's in 2017.

Thompson is hoping to raise $17,000 this year in memory of her mom, Dee Rhode, who passed from Alzheimer's in 2017.

“She would ride on my dad’s bike, but she did at one point own her own motorcycle," recalled Thompson at Atlantic Shores retirement community in Virginia Beach; her mom's last home and the starting location for the charity ride, which ends at Bayside Harley Davidson in Portsmouth.

Thompson began riding in 2005 and is now President for the Honey Badger chapter of Women in the Wind.

The group organizes the event, which Thompson says has grown each year.

Lisa Thompson and Regan Knutson Women in the Wind
Lisa Thompson and Regan Knutson hope to raise $17,000 in support of the Alzheimer's Association through this year's Longest Day charity ride.

“We have about 60 riders, give or take, every year, but every year, we manage to raise about $2,000 more than the year before," she said.

Regan Knutson is the newest member of the Honey Badgers and shares in Thompson's pain. She lost her mom to Alzheimer's in 2020 and says near the end, her mom didn't remember her.

The disease is a form of dementia that affects memory and thinking skills.

"You just get a wave of that grief. I got it last night. I miss my mom. I miss her. Mother’s Day is coming up and she was my best friend. It’s hard to fill that void," said Knutson.

But these two women find relief in friendship and in giving back so millions of other families can get support through the Alzheimer's Association.

The Honey Badger's Longest Day Charity Ride begins with registration and a free breakfast at Atlantic Shores on June 24.

There are two fundraising events in the weeks leading up: May 24 at Wasserhund Brewing Company's Chesapeake location from 5-10 p.m. and June 20 at the Virginia Beach location from 5-10 p.m. 30 percent of sales during the "Dine and Donate" events will go to the Alzheimer's Association.

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