JUNCTION CITY – Marc Bickley got more than he bargained for on his 50th birthday.
After losing 50 pounds, the financial adviser for Edward Jones celebrated his big day – Thursday, June 15 – by running, and walking, 50 miles around the same Junction City High School track that he used to compete on more than 30 years ago, to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
The thing he didn’t expect was to wake up two days later with Covid!
“It’s not the start to my 50th birthday that I was hoping for,” Bickley said from his Springfield home Monday night. “This is my second time getting Covid; the first time I got it before they had vaccines available and I just slept for three days. This time I just have a lot of congestion.”
Bickley might have been weaker than he even knew as the final laps approached Thursday. He had started at 3:50 a.m. and hoped to finish at 6 p.m. He didn’t complete his final lap until 7:30.
“My wife Amy said I was in my own little world for those last 8-10 laps,” Bickley said. “I’m super thankful that I had several people supporting me at the end, and making sure I didn’t fall over.”
Bickley called the event his 50-50-50 for Alzheimer’s! Lose 50 pounds for his 50th birthday and put in 50 miles … all to raise 50-grand for the Alzheimer’s Association.
“I got the idea on Facebook, seeing people supporting causes,” Bickley said. “I used to be a distance runner, I needed to lose some weight, I have some clients and family members affected by Alzheimer’s, and my company happens to be a national sponsor of the Alzheimer’s organization. I needed to lose 50 pounds, so I did that, and I hope to raise $50,000, so here we are today … next year we’ll do pizza!”
At last count Monday night, $12,856 had been raised for the Alzheimer’s Association. Anyone wishing to contribute can do so at http://act.alzorg/goto/5050
Bickley had plenty of support as he kept circling the Junction City High track, as he and his wife set things up at 3:50 a.m. His wife, his mother, his sister, his in-laws, several friends from back in the day, a lot of co-workers and some people from the Alzheimer’s Association stopped by – many joining Marc to walk a few laps.
“It’s great having this kind of support,” Bickley said. “Fourteen hours is a lot of time to fill. I have a 14-hour playlist on my phone to keep me distracted – it’s the 70s through 2000, all genres. It has to be upbeat, though. I’m not listening to power ballads.”
“He’s had a lot of support, people stopping by, customers or clients, family, friends, colleagues, former teachers,” sister Terri Long said. “It’s been so exceptional to see that. I think it’s given him the boost to keep going.”
“It’s amazing to walk around with him,” longtime friend Nancy Lande said after walking 9-10 laps. She said she planned to walk some more.
This has been a big couple of weeks for the Bickley family. Their son, Ryland, graduated last week from an online public high school, and their daughter, Madelena, graduated this past Saturday from Oregon State as a physics major.
Bickley did a 90-mile backpacking trip with Ryland a couple summers ago, and he has done several solo hikes since then, including a 44-miler last month – the first time he had gotten into the mid-40s.
After graduating from Junction City in 1992, Bickley did some hiking when he joined the Navy, too.
“I played trumpet in high school, then I got to lead the band my senior year at the Naval Academy,” he said. “I honestly don’t think I would have graduated without the music. The military is so regimented, I needed some kind of creative release and the band gave me that.
“I rattled around in the Navy for a while, but I finally made it back to the Willamette Valley. I spent 10 years on the East Coast, but it never felt like home.”
Bickley says he couldn’t be happier living in Springfield and working as a financial adviser for Edward Jones.
“I love the outdoors. I’m an avid reader. I sing in my church choir, and I love my job because I believe I’m able to help people,” Bickley said. “It’s pretty heartwarming when you can make a difference in people’s lives.”
The money he raised during this event is certainly a difference-maker.