Thirty years ago there were no treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS). Today, there are 10. 10 treatments that save, extend and improve lives. Those treatments didn’t fall out of the air eiether. They came about because of money for research…
More than 400,000 people in the United States suffer from MS, with an estimated 2 million more diagnosed around the world. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with no two people experiencing the same set of symptoms. About 45 percent of the diagnosed are not severely affected– while the other 55 percent suffer from various levels of the four types of MS: relapsing-remitting, secondary-progressive, primary progressive and progressive relapsing. Disease-modifying therapy is critical, and can be the difference between a life in a wheelchair or full physical movement.
With these staggering statistics in mind, ChatterBlast’s Evan Urbania, Lou Perseghin and yours truly joined a special group of individuals known as Team Voyager. Yes, a Trek reference.
This September 27th, Team Voyager participated in a physically challenging and emotionally rewarding day-long fundraiser: the MS City to Shore Bike Ride. In year 32, this amazing event attracts 7,000 cyclists who travel from Philadelphia to Ocean City, N.J. That’s right – totally on pedal power. Roughly 80 miles of scenic roadway across the Garden State; the terrain is fairly flat, but the route includes two massive bridges. Two gigantic, enormous bridges, at the very end. Finish strong!
For a lot of people, the trek is about that personal challenge, “Can I make it all the way to Ocean City?” But when riders arrive at the finish line, they realize it’s about the personal struggles of the thousands of local people living with MS. Those people overcome incredible daily challenges, including: numbness, fatigue and, in some cases, paralysis. The research to find treatments—and someday, a cure—is funded through events like City To Shore. Many of the riders, volunteers, organizers, and onlookers are living with MS. Their cheers and tears make it easier to ignore the cramping, burning joints, or incredibly sore backside.BEYOND sore backside.
Though this was my second year, even-better bikers Lou and Evan were City to Shore newbies. “The experiences Matt shared after his first ride really appealed to all of us. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of,” said Evan. “And really, if Matt could do it – I figured I could too!”
Besides Lou and Evan, the team saw their sophmore season bring in a bevy of new non-ChattterBlast recruits. In fact, Voyager’s growth helped the team crack into the Top 20 Friends and Family teams in fundraising! Lou was the first Blaster—and Voyager—across the Finish Line in New Jersey, thanks to some serious leg power (thank you, Unite Fitness) and a state-of-the-art bike (thank you, Philadelphia BikeSmith). All the Blasters were supported by friends, family, co-workers, clients and partners—through the contribution of bikes and gear, as well as generous donations. Monetary support was incredible, with the three ‘Blaster’s raising a staggering $15,000!
For those of you who donated: THANK YOU. The National MS Society uses the funds raised through the ride to fuel medical research and provide more services than any other organization in the world. They help through essential direct services that empower and increase independence, including:
- Specialized MS clinics
- Education and information
- Home/vehicle modifications
- Emergency financial assistance
- Medical supplies
- Home care
- Support groups
- Family programs
ChatterBlast is so grateful to everyone who helped us pedal those 80 miles. In the moments we wanted to stop, and pull over on the side of the road and nap; we pressed on to live up to all our donor’s faith. From our amazing teammates on Team Voyager, to our loved ones and colleagues who helped us bring in the Brinks truck of donations, we appreciate and honor your support!
For more proof we did it… Click on the video below (Hey, it wouldn’t have been a ChatteBlast outing, if we hadn’t GoPro’d the ride!) to see some highlights of our across-state spin!