A few months ago someone asked me why the Bike MS program, and the MS 150 in particular, was such a big deal. I could have replied with the usual spiel—it raises money for a good cause—but the cycling challenge represents a lot more than a good time with friends or an excuse to fundraise. It represents staying in motion, something that is often very difficult when you have multiple sclerosis.
When I first began to learn about MS, I was petrified that my disease would one day paralyze me. MS affects the body’s nerves and can temporarily, or progressively, paralyze limbs. It does other things too, none of them good, but it was the idea of not being able to walk or stand up that freaked me out the most.
Since my initial diagnosis, I have become less afraid of my MS. But 2014 has proven to be my most challenging yet. I often find myself stumbling and losing my balance, and yes—I am afraid. But my Cram Crew family is here for me. They watch out for me, encourage me, and take care of me.
This April, Cram Crew also took care of others with MS by partnering with Team Simmons on the BP MS 150. The team set out to raise $50,000 for the cause and as of April 18, with your help, Team Simmons has raised over $66,000. As I watched people cross the halfway line in La Grange, looking tired but satisfied and proud, I began to wonder if I could bike 180 miles. My coworkers began to wonder if they could too.
I’m positive that my friends at Cram Crew can do the MS 150. I’m pretty sure I can do it too, but it’s going to be a real challenge for me. It will kick my butt, but I think kicking MS’s butt and ensuring that I keep moving will be entirely worth it.
Whether or not we cycle in next year’s event, we’ve marked the MS 150 on our calendars: on April 18-19, 2015, we’ll be there as volunteers or as riders.
Thank you clients and friends who participated in this year’s MS 150, as cyclists or donors.
Thank you Team Simmons for showing us how delightfully infectious supporting a colleague can be.
And thank you Cram Crew for making me consider possibilities I’ve never thought of before.
– Mai M.