By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: September 2015
Hundreds of cyclists ride to raise funds for the 4,400 local individuals diagnosed with MS.
Join hundreds of bicyclists on Saturday and Sunday, September 26 and 27, as they venture on a 150-mile journey from Norman to Guthrie to Stillwater to have fun and help create a world free of multiple sclerosis (MS). Bike MS, now in its 30th year, is recognized as the premier fundraising cycling series in the nation. Bike MS: The Road Divided 2015 is the area effort that provides vital support to 4,400 local individuals diagnosed with MS.
This unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body, much like a frayed electrical cord, thus producing neurological disorders. The course of the disease varies greatly from person to person. Although MS can develop at any age, the disease is most common in women between ages 20 and 50. Unfortunately, the cause of MS is still unknown and there is no cure.
Several disease-modifying medications are available to stop the progression of symptoms that include numbness, blurred vision, incontinence, memory loss, muscle spasms, dizziness and seizures. But symptom relief comes at a cost. The symptom management, treatment and healthcare coordination for a person living with MS comes to approximately $60,000 a year.
“That’s why this event is so important to these people and to their families,” says Sarah Flowers, development manager of the National MS Society Oklahoma chapter. The goal for Bike MS: The Road Divided 2015 is $540,000. “The funds raised through Bike MS help to provide direct financial assistance to those living with MS, and vital programs and services to them and their families such as self-help groups and wellness programs.”
With more than 100 Bike MS events taking place across the nation, corporations and organizations have made this the team-building event of choice. Anyone 12 or older is invited to participate, with a $300 fundraising minimum. “The real fun comes among teams,” says Sarah. Any kind of team – friends, families, businesses, civic groups, churches, scouts, youth groups, and people living with MS.
Year after year, many cyclists make new friends throughout Oklahoma who share their experience and return with teams of new participants.
This is the first time the local chapter has chosen the scenic Norman, Guthrie, Stillwater route. Organizers have covered even the smallest details to make the ride safe and memorably enjoyable for everyone. Bike MS is fully supported with patrols and marshals. Food will be provided courtesy of presenting sponsor Sam’s Club. Ben E. Keith Foods also donates and supplies food for the weekend, along with area Stillwater restaurants that are donating food for the finish line in Stillwater. Many volunteers will be on hand all along the way to help with whatever is needed.
Years of experience and listening to cyclists resulted in a new and user-friendly website, www.bikemsok.org, and it has never been so easy to get involved. Anyone interested can find answers to all their questions about event details, ride preparation, team information, social media, fundraising tools and lots more. With just a few clicks, you can register to ride, start, form or join a team, volunteer, sponsor or donate.
People who are not able to make the ride or provide hands-on assistance can still be a part of the event and make a difference in someone’s life by making a donation.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.
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