Even Mother Nature couldn’t rain on ADEC’s parade.

Despite rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for Saturday, more than 200 people showed up at ADEC’s 45th annual (Walk, Run or) Ride-A-Bike to raise money and awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

With donations still trickling in, this year’s ride has already brought in more than $70,000 — a 40 percent increase over 2016 totals and more than double what was raised in 2015.

“Thanks to our incredible corporate sponsors who covered the cost of the event, every penny of each registration fee and 100 percent of every donation goes to increasing choices and possibilities for individuals with disabilities,” said Jessica Koscher, ADEC’s Chief Development Officer. “Because of all our participants and others who donated, our clients will be able to discover more potential and accomplish more than they already have.”

Ride-A-Bike is the largest annual fundraiser for ADEC, a nonprofit that advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. ADEC serves more than 1,100 people each year by helping them find A life of their own filled with Dignity, Employment and Community.

Saturday’s ride helped ADEC mark two important milestones: Its 65th anniversary as a nonprofit and the 45th running of Ride-A-Bike, which is the longest running organized bike ride in Elkhart County. Special 45- and 65-mile routes commemorated the anniversaries.

This year’s event also included new features that riders, walkers and runners took advantage of, including free massages in Shipshewana and family art activities at Krider Gardens. A new pre-race pizza party was also a hit and featured music by Goshen-based singer/songwriter Faybrianne Joy.

“There’s something special about seeing the people we serve line up at the starting line with members of the community for Ride-A-Bike,” said Donna Belusar, ADEC’s CEO and president. “It is so much more than a fundraiser. It is a chance for the community to get to know our clients and learn about how ADEC helps people with disabilities realize their full potential and achieve their dreams.”

ADEC clients who did not participate in the bike ride still lined the course with handmade signs thanking participants and sponsors.

“We are so grateful to our dedicated donors, sponsors, volunteers and participants,” Koscher said. “Thanks to them, our clients have more in their lives — more choices, more possibilities and more dreams come true.”

Team “Keep the Faith” was the top team fundraiser this year, raising $10,120 for ADEC. The team was led by Tom Nickel, who has been Ride-A-Bike’s top fundraiser for more than a decade now and has participated in every Ride-A-Bike since his daughter, Faith, was born with Down syndrome 21 years ago.

It was a neck-and-neck race for top individual fundraiser between Missy Mast and Cary Kelsey. For the weeks leading up to Ride-A-Bike, the two were just a couple of dollars apart. Ultimately, Kelsey — who is retiring on May 31 after 46 years with ADEC — pulled ahead with $2,235. Mast was still recognized at the pre-party for her efforts raising $2,155 for ADEC.

It is never too late to make a tax-deductible donation. Simply visit adecinc.com/give or contact Koscher at [email protected] or 574-848-2421.