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When I was 18, my dad passed away in 2003 after a five-year battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. After his passing, I was left fatherless but luckily he instilled a framework of values that allowed me to become the driver of my life and now teach others to do the same when life’s challenges seem unbearable.

To honor my dad, Doug Ordway, and to raise money for I AM ALS, I am riding my bicycle for more than 800 miles in 10 days from Washington D.C. to Indiana. I know my ride will inspire others to develop the personal agency they need to overcome adversity and live their version of the American Dream. 

Won’t you join me?

At the end of my ride, I hope you’ll attend the Robert’s Ride Celebration co-hosted with my sister Jennifer at the Dunes Pavilion on Wednesday, August 21, at 7 p.m. CST, featuring guest speaker U.S. Senator Mike Braun (IN).

ALS is an incurable and terminal disease. However, there is hope with Senator Braun’s Promising Pathway Act (PPA) 2.0, a bill that would create a rolling, real-time drug approval pathway to speed access for individuals with rare, progressive, and fatal diseases such as ALS. 

Are you interested in sponsoring this event? Email me. I would love to feature you and your business as one of my supporters. 

Donor Levels: 

  • Host: $5,000
  • Co-Host: $2,500
  • Sponsor: $1,000
  • VIP: $250 
  • General Admission: $50 

I appreciate your support as I work to honor my dad and all ALS patients through “Robert’s Ride.”

About Robert

Robert Ordway grew up in a small mill town on the fringe of Gary, Indiana. He had a typical blue-collar upbringing, but all that changed when he turned 13 and his dad was diagnosed with ALS. For the next five years, Robert lived in a household without the resources needed to make things easier.

Robert was slated to leave for the War in Iraq in 2003 but his life took a different direction after being awarded the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, a full ride to any university in Indiana. He was the first in his family to graduate from college but a degree in finance proved of little value going into the Great Recession in 2008. Just a year later, his mother’s lifelong battle with bipolar disorder came to an end with her suicide, one of five suicides in his family.

Robert learned that adversity can come unannounced, and often, we need to prepare to handle those challenges. His worldview has been shaped by lessons from his dad, who stressed the importance of developing personal agency and possessing skin in the game in all aspects of life. 

He aims to help others do the same through speaking, coaching, consulting, writing, and community building. Robert leads by participating in the five pillars of a strong community: education, business/labor, non-profits, government, and faith-based institutions. 

He has more than 15 years of experience in public policy, civil service, and private sector work. In his free time, Robert designs custom clothing, competes in powerlifting, enjoys cycling/bikepacking, and studies the history of Northwest Indiana as it relates to Big Steel, labor unions, race relations, organized crime, prohibition, Christianity, and southern migration.

Robert is writing his first book, Millrat: A Memoir About ALS, Adversity, and the American Dream.

In Millrat, Robert shares his experience as a teenage caretaker of his dad, who battled ALS for five years, all while dealing with his mother’s bipolar disorder and eventual suicide. Combining Robert’s life experiences with his dad’s timeless wisdom, this book shows readers how faith, family, and community are essential to building the personal agency needed to overcome adversity and learn from failure while pursuing the American Dream.