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US Soldiers in Iraq Join Together to Raise Awareness for Multiple Sclerosis by Participating in 100 mile MS Bike Tour in Iraq


September 2005—On September 24 & 25, a group of 14 U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq rode 100+ miles on their bikes in the desert to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis. Soldiers of the 42nd Infantry Division and Task Force Liberty conducted their own version of the MS Bike Tour in Tikrit, Iraq, to show their support for the National MS Society.

Major Frederick Evans began participating in the Greater North Jersey's MS Bike Tour in 2003. He says that his commitment to the MS cause, even while stationed in Iraq, is based upon his desire to give back to the community and because of a personal friend living with the disease. "Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease that strikes out of nowhere and can potentially disable someone in the prime of life. I want to help. There are people who watch things happen, people who wonder what happened, and people that make things happen. I try to be in that last group of people," he said. To read more about Major Evans, who spearheaded the group, and Team Danger, go to www.ms100.org.

Sergeant Doug (DJ) Saunders first rode in the Mid America Chapter's MS Bike Tour in 2004 (in Kansas). Sgt. Saunders is a medical specialist in the Army and his desire to help fight MS was fueled when he began treating people with the disease, and seeing first hand how debilitating it can be: "Riding in the MS Bike Tour is a small show of respect and appreciation for people living with multiple sclerosis. I am committed to being a part of the cure, and I will not fail those who courageously fight this disease on a daily basis." Sgt. Saunders joined Major Evans and his team for a unified ride to raise awareness for MS.

Maj. Fred Evans of the 42nd Aviation Brigade conducts his first day of the MS Bike Tour in Tikrit, Iraq, while on Forward Operating Base Danger.
Staff Sgt. Douglas J. (DJ) Saunders continues his first day's ride. Saunders, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, Task Force Liberty, normally rides a total of 150 miles for MS each year.

Team Danger rides. Some other members of Team Danger are: SGT Marcus Bowers (NY, NY), SSG Alicia Bryant (Carthage, NY), SSG Gabriel Fuentes (Accord, NY), Henry Johnson (Rosholt, WI), Vernon Knuckles (Grand Junction, CO), Matt McNeil (Queen Creek, AZ), and SFC Jovana Meyer (Fort Hood, TX).

Photos by Spec. Adam Phelps, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Task Force Liberty.

According to Joyce Nelson, President and CEO of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society: "We are honored that these soldiers, who have dedicated their lives to serving to our country, are also so committed to the fight against multiple sclerosis. They are truly inspiring and we thank them for their leadership."

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