04 February 2010

Pedaling for a Cause

Chains of My HeartEach June, I ride 150 miles in two days in honor of a few very dear friends and relatives battling multiple sclerosis. Every MS-150 participant would have to raise at least $300 in order to ride. Each year, I raised around $500 by throwing an ice cream social where I work. I'd buy the ice cream and toppings, and my co-workers would enjoy the treats and generously donate to the cause.

Wear a BearEach year, I pay for my own hotel room on the overnight. Each year, I kept my bike maintained so it could make the ride without a SAG (support and gear... volunteers ready to help you when you break down or just can't go another pedal stroke). After being diagnosed as diabetic in 2006, I had to learn what kind of foods I could eat during long rides (I bonked a LOT that first year), and then I had to mostly supply my own food and drink during training rides and cycling events because back then, rest stops didn't cater to people who can't have sugar. Thankfully, all organized rides are becoming more sensitive to dietary needs, and I don't have to pack my own food for every mile now.

In 2005, I got married. Suddenly, I didn't have to ride alone anymore. (BIG, BIG, BIG, BIG smile!!!!!!) My husband and I sign up together, and the amount to raise doubled for two riders. It was hard that first year, but each year, we have managed to raise the required amount, and sometimes even a little more.

Ride Like the WindThen the economy happened last year. I knew there was no way either of us would be able to raise enough money. No one had any extra money! Everyone was cutting back. Some of my friends faced cuts in hours, cuts in wages and even loss of employment. But some of those very same friends continued to battle the disease, regardless of what their paychecks looked like. So I decided to try to raise the money by selling my crafts and photography. That way, people were actually getting something for their money instead of just giving it away, and I could raise the MS money by doing something I really enjoy. I made bears, bunnies, mice, harp seals, scarves, pin quilts and greeting card sets.

My Photo Pin QuiltAnd it worked!!!

For the first time ever, I raised $1,000! In a bad economy, when money was tight everywhere, I raised more money than I'd ever been able to raise before.

I didn't know it at the time, but raising that amount also earned me the title of Premium Pedaler. I got a discount on this year's registration fee, I get a special color on my participant number, and I received a certificate of appreciation. Way cool!

Then we got hit with another surprise that, given the circumstances, isn't quite so surprising. The amount each rider has to raise this year has been increased to $400. That means my husband and I must raise $800. But I think we can do it. Especially if I put in the same amount of enthusiasm as last year.

Quilted SkiesMy own personal goal this year is even higher. If I can raise $2,000, I won't have to stand in line for the porta-potties at rest stops during the 2011 event. About 2,500 people ride each year in the Colorado Bike MS (the name changed from MS-150 a couple of years ago), and so those restroom lines can get pretty darned long!

Most of all, though, I'm doing this because I hope to see a cure for multiple sclerosis in my lifetime. Colorado has the highest incidence of MS in the world, and the disease slowly, painfully robs those afflicted of their sight, their balance and their muscle control.

So, all proceeds from all sales in my Etsy shop from now through May 1, 2010, will benefit the Colorado Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. You may follow my progress in this year's fundraising here.Cereal Spillers


  1. What a beautiful thing you are doing and will be blessed. You are the Fingerprint for this Friday..Happy Fingerprint Friday.

  2. That is so wonderful. I love em


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