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30th Anniversary of Bike MS: Ride the Riverside Hosted 1,000 Cyclists
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s National Capital Chapter hosted Bike MS: Ride the Riverside on June 9th and 10th. The chapter celebrated the event’s 30th Anniversary by developing a new route, starting and ending at the National Harbor in Maryland. The longest-running cycling event in the D.C. metropolitan area, Bike MS raises awareness and funds for MS research and programs.
More than 1,000 participants from across the Mid-Atlantic region navigated routes ranging from 30 miles in one day up to 150 miles over two days. All routes were fully supported with include support and gear (SAG) vehicles and ample rest stops, concluding with a finish line celebration of live music, cheering fans, a beer garden, and delicious food donated by Corner Bakery Café, Subway, and Waterford Receptions.
Other sponsors who made the event possible were EMD Serono, KPMG, Mindbank, Booz Allen Hamilton, CommVault, FedEx, and Intelsat. Many of these sponsors also had corporate teams made up of employees who took on the challenge of riding in Bike MS.
This year’s Bike MS has already raised more than $800,000 and participants have until July 20th to continue to collect pledges. Proceeds from the event will support programs and services for the 18,000 people affected by MS in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, as well as help fund nearly 400 MS-related research initiatives worldwide.
“By celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Bike MS in a new location we were able to bring the event to Maryland, while still fostering the support of riders and sponsors from across the D.C. metropolitan area,” said Chris Broullire, National Capital Chapter President. “This event combines both a physical and a philanthropic challenge, and we are thrilled to see the number of people accepting that challenge continue to grow.”
Of those riding in this year’s Bike MS event are Andrew “Doogie” Condit, Dan Levine, George Fruchterman, Michael Gresalfi, and Jennifer Weiss.
Andrew “Doogie” Condit of Reston, VA owes a lot to the connections made at Bike MS. If it was not for the annual cycling event he might never have met his wife Andrea, and they might not have welcomed their newborn son this year. Condit began riding in Bike MS 18 years ago, and it was through Team Bombers that he met his future wife.
“I was doing training rides with my teammate David and I recall him saying, ‘You will meet the woman of your dreams on this ride,’” Condit reminisced. “At the time I thought nothing of it. Then, during the 2002 Bike MS event our team was at mile 33, climbing a hill, complaining, when Andrea retorted, ‘You better suck it up because we have a lot more riding.’ It was just the push I needed and after spending the weekend together I asked her out. Just after the 2003 ride I proposed. Andrea and I will continue to ride as long as we are physically able. We love Bike MS.” Andrea and Doogie rode as baby Eli cheered them on from his stroller, wearing a Bike MS onesie.
Dan Levine of Poolesville, MD, was a rookie rider in this year’s Bike MS event. He has participated in Walk MS in years past, and this year accepted the challenge to further strengthen his support for the Society’s mission. “As long as I can remember my father lived with MS,” he recalled. “He was diagnosed in his late 20s and over the years he went from walking and living a active life to living in a nursing home. He passed away from complications of MS in May 2011 at the age of 71.”
Levine registered for Bike MS as a way to give back to the National MS Society for the aid the organization provided his family. “I want to raise money for a cure so my sons never have to deal with MS,” he explained. “I watched my dad living in pain and I know the pain I felt from this ride is nothing in comparison.”
George Fruchterman of Annandale, VA, returns for his third ride, this year with a new motivation fueling his creative fundraising efforts. “Today I rode for Emily Van Roe, the 16-year-old daughter of a co-worker who was diagnosed with MS just two months ago,” said Frutcherman. “Emily has played in several FC Virginia Heat U-16 soccer games against my daughter’s team, and it was disheartening to hear that someone so fit, healthy, and young could be diagnosed with this terrible disease.”
With the help of medication Emily has continued to experience the joys of teenage years, recently getting her driver’s license and training to rejoin her soccer team. The hopefulness of Emily’s story inspired Fruchterman to set fundraising milestones that reward pledges with added physical challenges. “I reached the $2,000 mark, which explains why I am styling with this high and tight haircut for the event,” he said.
Michael Gresalfi of Boyds, MD, has been riding in Bike MS for 23 consecutive years. His involvement with the National MS Society extends beyond the annual two-day cycling event, as Gresalfi has served on the National Capital Chapter’s Board of Advisors for two terms. Gresalfi and his business partner Senator Frank Shore participate in the chapter’s bike, walk, challenge walk, and golf events. Shore’s son, Mark, died of complications of MS, and since then the pair have become spokesmen for the cause.
“When I first started 22 years ago I rode for myself and for the cause in general,” he recalled. “Over these many years, as I have come to know many people living with MS and their friends and families, fighting for a cure has become very personal, and has strengthened my commitment to the National MS Society.”
Jennifer Weiss of Arlington, VA, has set a fundraising goal of $10,000 for her 13th ride. Weiss is the captain of Babes and Babe Magnets on Bikes, a team that has raised over $413,000 for the chapter in its 12 years of participation. “Initially I chose the ride because I’d heard it is a well-supported and fun ride,” she said. “Our team’s momentum has grown around cycling for a great cause and helping the many people with the disease.”
“One of the wonderful things I’ve seen since my first ride in 2000 is that our donations really produce results. The research we helped fund has provided new and better therapy options, including the first ever oral disease-modifying drug.”
To learn more about local programs and services for people affected by MS, please visit www.MSandYOU.org or call (202)296-5363, option 2.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with the disease. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and over 2.1 million worldwide.
About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. The Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, collaborating with MS organizations around the world, and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move forward with their lives. In2010 alone, through its national office and 50-state network of chapters, the Societydevoted $159 million to programs and services that assisted more than one millionpeople. To move us closer to a world free of MS, the Society also invested $37 million to support 325 new and ongoing research projects around the world. The Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. Join the movement at www.MSandYOU.org.
Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional and contacting the National MS Society at www.MSandYOU.orgor (202)296-5363, option 2.
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