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People who ride in Bike MS may do so to support family members, friends or co-workers who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. But, there are also legions of participants who live, and ride, with the disease, despite challenges such as fatigue or weakness. I Ride with MS is a special Society program that recognizes Bike MS cyclists who are also living with multiple sclerosis.
Anyone living with MS who is interested in cycling to support the MS movement can join the program, enjoy special day-of-event benefits and receive a complimentary “I Ride with MS” jersey. Genzyme and MS One to One, and Primal Wear are proud supporters of the I Ride with MS program, available through all 100 Bike MS events nationwide.
I Ride with MS participants are not only committed to cycling to create a world free of MS, but to increasing awareness. For more information or to register for the program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
“For me, Bike MS is such a healthy weekend in that you combine the physical part of biking with the emotional aspect that comes with seeing all of the supporters that come out for the weekend,” says Frauendorfer, who was met by fellow riders including his wife Linda and teammates at the finish line. “There’s a great sense of community and accomplishment since we are all working towards the common goal of ending MS.”
“Bike MS gives me a great opportunity to raise awareness, educate others, encourage those who are also diagnosed, and raise money to support the programs that improve the lives of those living with the disease,” explains Frauendorfer. “In the past three years, it is amazing the number of people we have encountered that are living with MS or have close friends or family that have been impacted by MS. Participating in the Bike MS event is one way that I can actually feel like I’m doing something about MS rather than just living with it.”
Nancy Dressel always finds a way to give to the MS movement, whether she’s raising money by selling her hand-sewn aprons at a farmer’s market near her home in Port Orchard, Wash.; riding a recumbent bicycle to lead her Bike MS team, Crankin’ for a Cure; or, connecting with people to spread awareness about MS.
“I’m loud,” says Nancy, who was diagnosed in 1990 at age 35. “I’m not shy. I want to be out in the fun. I want to talk to people.” Which is why Bike MS is such a great fit for her. “The riders just blow me away,” she explains. “They’re out there cranking 150 miles and before that, they’re knocking on people’s doors for donations, and some of them don’t even know anyone with MS. I’ve had grown men get down on their knees to face me on my recumbent bike and say, ‘tell me your story.’ It chokes me up.”
For Nancy, Bike MS is perhaps most of all a way to connect with the community. “I use the words ‘warm and fuzzy’ when talking about my neurologist because you’ve got be able to talk about everything with a neurologist. Well, the experience of Bike MS is also warm and fuzzy. I felt that immediately—the riders just accepted me right away into the fold.”
Fontella Addo remembers her first experience with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society when she was going through yet another of what had become an annual MS exacerbation. “A woman from the Society helped me to get my first wheelchair,” she says. “I had to accept that I needed a chair at the time of the exacerbation and I couldn’t afford it. She made phone calls and did everything she could to help.”
Fontella continued to use services that the Society offered, but hadn’t considered Bike MS as a way to give back until a coworker found out she had MS and asked her to join his team, The Spokesmen. “When he found out, oh man, he pushed, pushed, pushed,” Fontella, who lives in Leominster, Mass., remembers. “I was like, I will do anything to help, but I haven’t ridden a bike since I was 10.” But he didn’t give up. “He kept pushing, so I finally joined the team and that was that.”