If you live in metro Detroit, then by now you’ve heard of or have seen the massive group of bicyclists casually pedaling through the city with Slow Roll Detroit. Slow Roll co-founder Jason Hall is partnering with the American Heart Association (AHA) to host the first Red Roll at 7:30 p.m., April 25, in Eastern Market.
“I’m expecting more than 5,000 people to be a part of the Red Roll,” said Hall, crediting his mother, Millie Hall, for exposing him to the organization many years ago. “My mom has always been a huge supporter of the American Heart Association and this is my way to contribute to this important cause.”
The AHA promotes and advocates for heart disease and stroke treatment and awareness — the two leading causes of death not just nationally, but globally.
Red Roll participants are asked to donate $5 or $10 at Monday’s event, or online at SlowRoll.DetroitHeartBall.org. All Slow Roll donations support the fundraising efforts for the Detroit Heart Ball Friday, June 17, also at Eastern Market It will be followed by the Pulse Party.
“I felt that having the Red Roll as the season opener would have the most impact and possibly be one of the biggest rides,” said Hall, after the winter hiatus of community bicycle rides. “I hope that our partnership helps to boost giving around the city.”
Hall, who says he has always had a love for “things with wheels,” has family impacted by heart disease and stroke. He helped grow Slow Roll Detroit from five riders to more than 4,000 every week. Hall is also an official spokesperson for Apple, touring the world to share his Detroit story.
“The Red Roll will be our first time doing a ride in southwest and west side of Detroit. Now we have the ability to go farther so we are,” he said. “Slow Roll is also expanding to Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo and Washington, D.C.”
Melissa Thrasher is the AHA’s communications director, working behind the scenes for months to plan for both the Red Roll and the Heart Ball.
“Jason has been putting his heart and soul planning for both events,” she said. “We were excited to work with him and his team. We felt that it was important to reach his target audience of followers.”
The fundraising goal of the Red Roll and Heart Ball is $1.5 million. Some proceeds benefit metro Detroit residents through research efforts, advocacy and training.
“We hope to reach many supporters through social media,” Thrasher said. “We hope that everyone should come out to ride in the Red Roll because it’s designed to include families.”
Hall said there will be a tent at the Red Roll where participants can donate to the cause. Volunteers will also be on foot, gratefully accepting donations.
“If someone was on the fence about participating, I’d say ‘come on out because I can show you how awesome the ride is better than I can tell you,” he said. “We really want to overcome every objective people may have not to make a donation for this cause.”