Notre Dame Cycling Team to host conference race to benefit rare disease research

by Marissa Gebhard

Notre Dame Cycling Team

The University of Notre Dame Cycling Team will raise money for the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation when it hosts the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference race in downtown South Bend on March 26 and 27 (Saturday and Sunday). Up to 200 cyclists from other schools in the conference, including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Ohio State University and Purdue University, are expected to compete.

The Notre Dame Cycling Team is using the event to fund research to fight Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC) disease, a genetic neurodegenerative disorder that is usually fatal. Three grandchildren of legendary Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian died from the disease, and their parents, Mike and Cindy Parseghian, started the foundation in 1994 to fund research to find treatments and a cure. Last year, the Foundation strengthened its ties with Notre Dame when it established the Michael, Marcia and Christa Parseghian Endowment for Excellence to support NPC research and discovery, and also dedicated funds to support an annual scientific conference at Notre Dame.

“This is the first time we’ve done anything like this to benefit a charity, but we’re hopeful it will become a tradition,” sophomore cyclist Joe Magro said. “The opportunity to not only do something we all enjoy, cycling, but also make a meaningful difference to a cause very close to the Notre Dame community’s heart is not something that comes up every day.”

Desert to Dome

Last summer, College of Science Dean Gregory Crawford and his wife Renate bicycled 2,300 miles from Tucson to Notre Dame to raise awareness of the newly strengthened partnership with the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, based in Tucson. Crawford will help launch the races in downtown South Bend.

Magro and teammate Douglas Ansel, a graduate student, are contenders for Rider of the Year in the conference’s Division II, including schools with fewer than 15,000 students. The event includes a team time trial and road race on March 26. The feature event of the criterium, the Men’s A, begins at 12:15 p.m. on March 27 (Sunday) at the College Football Hall of Fame. The event is open to the public.

More information is available here

Contact: Joseph Magro, 717-823-2793,