Can you imagine…
Having multiple sclerosis means that one morning you may not be able to walk when you wake up. Or that you may suddenly have impaired vision. Or that your memory will fail you for no apparent reason. The symptoms of MS are many and vary for everyone. It’s estimated that approximately 55,000-75,000 men and women in Canada have the disease, and every day about three more people are diagnosed.
…a future without MS
I’ve registered for the MS Bike Tour to fulfill a personal challenge, and to help the MS Society fund research, advocate for change, and help people with MS and their families. Proceeds from this event and others like it provide support and services to help those living with this disease, their families and caregivers. They also fund research with three primary goals: to find a cause and cure for MS, repair nervous system damage caused by MS and stop MS attacks.
In 1990, when I rode in my first (and the first) MS Bike Tour, I didn’t know anyone with MS. The MS Bike Tour seemed like a great physical and mental challenge. During that first ride, one person stood out. No, it wasn’t one of the spandex-clad young hunks racing to the finish line. The person who really inspired me was a middle-aged man wearing what could only be described as a “bright and colourful” outfit—a buttoned-up shirt and matching Bermuda shorts in a bold yellow background covered with a small flower print. I also recall brown socks that didn’t match anything else he had on. This man was living with MS: he had balance and mobility issues while cycling; that evening at supper in the Portage la Prairie church basement, he appeared unsteady as he carried a plate of spaghetti to his table. When offered assistance, he cheerfully declined, saying that he fell “all the time” and wasn’t bothered by it. His sense of self-deprecating humour, his resilience and refusal to let MS limit his choice to live life fully—these have made a permanent impression on me, as I continued to ride in the MS Bike Tour year after year. I remember seeing him ride one or two more times, then participate as a volunteer at the check-in, with his indomitable smile and words of encouragement for the riders. I felt sad when he was no longer seen at the rides. I have continued to ride every year, inspired by the resilience and courage of others—neighbours, friends, former co-workers and MS Bike participants—who live daily with the challenges that MS brings.
I am part of the MS Bike Tour because I believe in a future without multiple sclerosis – and with your help we can get there. Please give generously.