By: Christopher Davis | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: September 2014
Bike MS: The Mother Road Ride takes place September 20-21 – register now!
Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide. In the United States, celebrities like Jack Osborne, Annette Funicello and Richard Pryor help put a face to the disease. The fact is, however, that MS affects friends, family and coworkers all around us. With the cause of MS still a mystery and treatments still falling short of an outright cure, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society asks for your support in raising funds toward MS research. Join them in Chandler on September 20 and 21 for Bike MS: The Mother Road Ride 2014.
Bike MS became a national event more than 30 years ago. Since then, it has become the National MS Society’s most successful event, serving as a healthy way for supporters to engage the public and raise millions of dollars toward the search for a cure.
The National MS Society is the largest and most visible MS advocacy organization in the United States. With local chapters in every state, it raised just over $90 million in fiscal year 2012 for use in mobilizing people and resources toward unlocking the mystery of the disease.
The basics of how MS affects the body are mainly relegated to the nerve fibers. The disease is an immune-mediated response, wherein damaged nerve fibers of the develop scar tissue (sclerosis). The deterioration of the myelin coating around the fibers disrupts communications in the central nervous system. This produces a wide range of symptoms in the body, such as slurred speech, blurred vision, trembling and weakness, numbness or tingling in limbs.
While some breakthroughs have been made, an outright cause or cure for MS remains elusive. Currently, the scientific community points to a combination of genetic and environmental factors as a likely cause. Research has shown that cases of MS occur more frequently in northern countries, implying a connection between the amount of sunlight (and vitamin D) individuals are exposed to. Scientists also believe that genetic predisposition may be a factor, too, in causing MS.
Working hypotheses regarding cause aside, the strides made in gaining an understanding really only scratch the surface; more research is needed. For example, the NMSS is funding a study in Australia to specifically focus on the relationship between the disease and sunlight exposure. And even though the National MS Society “funds more multiple sclerosis research and provides more programs for people with MS and their families than any other voluntary health organization in the world,” according to the National Health Council, it doesn’t happen without participation and support.
Bike MS is the society’s most popular event, and takes place in every state, every year. In Oklahoma, bicyclists pedal along 150 miles of Route 66 on September 20 and 21. Presented by Sam’s Club, The Mother Rode Ride begins and ends in Chandler at the Lincoln County Agri-Civic Center, located at 1179 W. 15th St.
Registration is $50 per rider. For more information, visit www.BikeMSOK.org.
For more information, contact
Christopher Davis is an educator and musician, as well as a writer. A California native, he resides in Tulsa with his wife, two sons and a modest menagerie of pets. When he isn't inspiring young minds, you will most likely find him spending time with his family or playing drums and percussion with Project Huckleberry or the Movetet. In addition to Value News, Davis also writes for Currentland. You can view his work at https://seedavis.wordpress.com.