5 NOV 2013 UPDATE: I'm now registered for the 2014 ride. My new fund-raising page is located here.
I recently finished putting together a booklet of the most popular snowflake patterns on this website, and after a couple of weeks, I finally received the correct link to join my team for this year's MS-150 (now called BikeMS). Then I decided to hold off on releasing the booklet until The Lizard registered, hoping to help his fundraising efforts as well my own.
I got to register early because I'm a Premium Pedaler, which means I raised in excess of $1,000 last year. My dear, sweet husband does not design patterns (yet!), and he doesn't have access to the wide variety of potential donors I do, so he has never been a Premium Pedaler and has sometimes had to donate money of his own when he has been unable to raise the required amount. Now both of us are registered, and we must each raise $400, although my personal goal is $2,000.
I began riding the MS-150 about ten years ago because a very close friend of mine invited me. I had no idea her sister was battling MS. By the time that first ride was over, I'd learned I work with two people who have MS, two people I work with have relatives with MS, and three more friends have relatives with MS. That was nearly a decade ago. Since then, I've found out about even more people in my circle who are afflicted with this disease, and now I'm married to someone who has two relatives with MS. Colorado has the highest incidence of MS in the country, and that's why I ride.
Yes, I love to ride. I love the hilly challenge of riding 75 miles a day twice in a row, back to back. I love meeting the volunteers (many of whom have MS), I love my team (Team Great-West; Great-West Life sponsors the Colorado ride), and I love meeting other cyclists who put as much effort into raising as much money as they can as I do. It's exhilarating knowing so many people care about something so important. And then I get to the finish line and find out some of those people who were riding right alongside me have MS, too, and they don't know how many more rides they'll be able to do.
That's why I ride.
The MS-150 is open to the first 2,500 people who sign up. The only requirement is to raise $400 by the first day of the ride. Because the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society depends primarily on donations to be able to serve the vast number of people affected by MS, there are numerous incentives to encourage people like me to raise more than just the basic $400. Businesses donate merchandise, bike tune-ups and other services that are then given as prizes to top donation collectors.
The best prize, in my opinion, is being named a High Roller, which means raising $2,000. Those who achieve this don't have to wait in line at the portable toilets at rest stops. One stall is always reserved for the High Rollers. If you could see the line at some of the rest stops, you'd understand why that's always a goal of mine. One stall also is reserved at each stop for the team that raises the most money, which for the last couple of years has been the RawHinies. Some teams have most unusual names! Ain't Too Proud to Sag, Purple Steep Hill Eaters, Saddle Soar, Some Nerve, Are We There Yet?, Penguin Roadkill...
Humor aside, the MS-150 is where a big chunk of my heart lives. And sometimes where my heart breaks the most. To see a volunteer in a wheelchair who wasn't in one the year before...
So, in an effort to try to raise as much money as I can to help put an end to this disease, I've put together my top 20 snowflake patterns (according to Google Analytics), two brand new, never-before-published patterns, the Rainbows of Hope scarf pattern I designed to raise money last year and the Plarn Snowman pattern (because we all have way too many white plastic grocery bags, and the snowman is a great way to get rid of them). The PDF booklet is formatted to be spiral bound or three-ring hole punched on the left side.
To receive a PDF copy of this booklet via email, please make a tax-deductible contribution in my name or in The Lizard's name, and make sure we have a way to contact you so we can send you the booklet. (The NMSS sends riders an email each time a donation is made in their name, and if the donor has left a valid email address, it will be available via a secure site so donors may be properly thanked. The NMSS does not sell email addresses and does not tolerate spam.)
The Lizard typically does not have access to a computer during the day but checks his email each night, so when you donate in his name, you may not immediately receive your booklet, but you should receive it by the following day. We typically do not have internet access on weekends if we're out taking photos, hiking, cross-country skiing or training for bicycle rides, so if you donate on a weekend, you may not hear from us until the following Monday, but you will hear from us as soon as we are able to respond. My email address is snowcatcher at att dot net if you have any problems receiving your booklet.
Thank you for your interest in making life better for those who have multiple sclerosis!