Ms. Micawber's wrap-up of last year's MS-150 got me teary-eyed. This woman is such a trooper! She battled back after being hit from behind while training for last year's event, rebuilding strength, stamina and courage to get back out on the road with cars again. She raised the required amount of money. She completed 81 miles, the most she'd ever done in a day, even though she wasn't able to train adequately because of the accident and because she has no mountains where she lives. And then totally spent, she got back on her bike again the next day.
She goes on to describe in her post how her challenges don't hold a candle to the challenges people with multiple sclerosis face. Her feelings are feelings I've always felt, beliefs I've always held true and observations I often make but don't always recount verbally.
I got teary-eyed when I recently re-read this post. I've been making such significant progress on my bike and even in everyday routines, I'd forgotten what a struggle 2012 was. Or perhaps I put it out of my mind because it was just too depressing.
A lot of things in 2012 really stunk. But they are getting better.
That's often not the case for those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The people suffering with MS... This is why we ride.
Yes, I ride because I like to ride. Yes, I crochet snowflakes because I'm addicted. And I go overboard on my fund-raising because the goalposts are so emotionally and physically rewarding to reach. But these also are tools I can use to try to make life better for someone else.
I ride the MS-150 because two people I work with are battling MS every day, and I witness their fight every workday. We lost my husband's cousin to multiple sclerosis in 2013. I have other friends and relatives of friends I ride for, but the ones I see every day and the remaining one in my husband's family are the ones who keep our drive alive, who visually remind me without saying a word, I must keep fighting this thing.
One of my co-workers struggles with her eyesight when her multiple sclerosis flares up. She never knows for sure if she will still be able to see after each episode.
I can't imagine what my life would be like without my eyesight. How would I make snowflakes? How would I take pictures?
My husband's cousin left behind two young daughters. A lot of people who suffered from MS have left behind children, some of them very small.
Bad things happen; this I know. But good things happen, too. Good things are happening in the fight against multiple sclerosis:
* New understanding regarding genetics of the disease
* More drug treatment options, including new oral medications
* New techniques to repair damage caused by multiple sclerosis
* New information about potential causes of the disease
(Source: WebMD.com, ShareCare.com, MSAdvances.com, NationalMSSociety.org)
Two years ago, I sprinted for the finish line at the end of Day One because I could. Last year, I did an extra mile to bring my total mileage to 150 because I could. On both days, the weather was hot, and it had been a long day. I had not trained as much as I would have liked, but I'd made vast improvements since 2012. Back then, I thought I would be strong again one day.
This year, I was strong. I had a great ride. I have renewed strength and courage.
I'd like to help bring that result about for the thousands of people daily battling the often crippling effects of multiple sclerosis.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society logo is a big MS with a slash through it, symbolizing wiping out the disease. The MS-150 (now BikeMS) logo is the same, but the slash is a bicycle tire track. I like that a lot because it means I'm riding my bike to help wipe out multiple sclerosis. I'm leaving tire tracks all over multiple sclerosis.
And this is one scar I intend to keep gouging for as long as I can.