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Ride the Mother Road

The annual Bike MS Ride is scheduled for September 15-16.

By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: August 2012

Guest celebrity rider Kristin Dickerson, co-anchor of ­Tulsa’s Channel 8 evening news, and Mary Benes, spokesperson for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, have been ­training for the 2012 Bike MS Ride.

Guest celebrity rider Kristin Dickerson, co-anchor of ­Tulsa’s Channel 8 evening news, and Mary Benes, spokesperson for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, have been ­training for the 2012 Bike MS Ride.

Prior to 2003, Mary Benes was an avid runner and fitness buff. In January of that year, she noticed that she was occasionally tripping with her left foot. Initially she didn’t think much about it, but with time the ­condition worsened. Mary then started noticing that she had begun clipping her right ankle with her left foot. She knew something was causing the ­problem and consulted with ­doctors, who began a lengthy barrage of tests in an effort to pinpoint the cause of the ­problem. Mary was originally diagnosed with just about ­everything, from a bulging disc to a left knee abnormality, as it had begun buckling without rhyme or reason. In early November of 2003, her ­orthopedist performed a strength test on her left knee and found it to be weaker than ­normal. The doctor concluded that Mary’s issues could be related to a neurological disorder, and she underwent a head-to-toe MRI. She was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Mary was placed on a daily injection regimen of Copaxone, a prescription product developed for the reduction of relapses in patients with multiple sclerosis. She immediately saw favorable results and has had no relapses to date. Although she could no longer run, she still had a strong desire to remain fit.

Mary has a vibrant personality, loves people, and loves to help them. She attended a “newly diagnosed” seminar in May, 2004. She was so impressed with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society that she began volunteering so that she could reach out and share her story. “In 2006, I volunteered to help with the Bike MS bicycle ride and found myself making a commitment to do the ride myself the following year,” said Mary. The rest is history. Mary was asked to join the American Airlines MS Bicycle Team in 2007 and has since participated in each yearly Bike MS ride. This year’s Bike MS guest celebrity is Kristin Dickerson, co-anchor of Tulsa’s Channel 8 evening news. She will be riding part of Bike MS with Mary.

As a spokesperson for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Mary has spearheaded development of other programs that aid research and treatment to stop the progression of the disease, restore function, and end MS forever. The National MS Society supports and funds research activities spanning all research stages, including early discovery research, translational research that brings promising ideas forward into actual therapeutic ­solutions for testing, and clinical trials. Their unique approach drives the pursuit of all ­promising avenues that can impact those living with multiple sclerosis.

Oklahoma’s 2012 Bike MS event (also known as “the Mother Road Ride”) is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, September 15-16, and will begin at the Hyatt Regency Tulsa on Saturday morning. Riders will depart for Chandler, where they will camp overnight in a local park. Sunday morning, riders will mount their bikes and head for the Oklahoma State Capitol, where the ride will conclude. Buses will bring Oklahoma City participants to Tulsa Friday evening and will transport Tulsa area cyclists back home Sunday afternoon following the ride and closing festivities.

If you are a cyclist but have never participated in Bike MS, this is your opportunity to support the event and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Your involvement will aid in research and the finding of a cure for MS. “Whether you’re interested in cycling, volunteering to help with the Bike MS event, want to make a donation, or sponsor a team, everyone makes a ­difference to those of us with MS,” says Mary. “Since I was diagnosed with MS in 2003, it’s been quite a ride!”

For more information, contact

National Multiple ­Sclerosis Society, ­Oklahoma

4606 E. 67th St., Ste. 103
Tulsa, OK 74136

 

(918) 488-0882

www.nationalMSsociety.org/ok
www.bikemsok.org


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Duane Blankenship Profile Picture

About Author Duane Blankenship

Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.

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National MS Society, Oklahoma

For more information, contact:

National MS Society, Oklahoma

(918) 488-0882
4606 E. 67th St., Ste. 103
Tulsa, OK 74136

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