KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tour of Knoxville's Pedal for Alzheimer's event kicked off in Knoxville on Sunday morning.
"I watched this personally,"said former Lady Vol Michelle Marciniak, who is a co-founder of Pedal for Alzheimer's.
"It really affected me, fans, family and friends. This disease doesn't discriminate."
Marciniak played for Coach Pat Summitt, who died of Alzheimer's disease in 2016. She was a point guard on the 1996 national championship team and decided to help create Pedal for Alzheimer's honor Summitt.
Sunday's 65-mile ride was open to public to kick off this year's 1,098-mile cycling event to honor Summitt's 1,098 NCAA career wins.
"It's about Pat, but it's about a much, much greater purpose,"Marciniak said.
"It's about a lot of people who are suffering from this disease."
"I consider her as an example of a life well lived,"cyclist Brandon Bruce said, who's making the 1,098-mile trip to Florida.
"So this is a neat opportunity to think about her, as well as all the people and families that deal with Alzheimer's."
Marciniak said it takes a team to demolish a dreadful disease.
"We're going to average about 100 miles a day,"Marciniak said.
"It's all about courage and pushing yourself beyond your limits."
The bicycle ride, which began in Knoxville, ends in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Oct. 17 with the goal of spreading awareness about Alzheimer's disease.
For more information about the Pedal for Alzheimer's or to follow the cyclists' journey to Florida, visit www.pedalforalzheimers.org.