I began participating in MS walks about six years ago when a friend who has MS invited me to tag along. Two years ago I decided to take my participation in finding a cause and cure to the next level by attempting the MS150, a two-day, 150-mile cycling event. Although my new Cannondale R500 bike fit really well and looked awesome my first MS150 attempt was not highly successful. I was very out of shape and wound up dehydrated and laying on the ground with an IV in my arm. I blamed the whole ordeal on the bike and put the thing away before it could do more harm.
Six months later my brother convinced me to give cycling another try. He repeatedly reminded me that the stellar value per dollar paid for my bike was not worth a lot if I didn?t ride the bike. Before I knew what happened I was ogling my bike and committed to attempting the MS150 again. I knew physical improvement was vital to avoid disaster in fulfilling my commitment.
Then I met Jim, a spinning instructor at my gym. Jim at first glance is a monster cyclist and the picture of fitness and health. As it turns out Jim is those things and much more. I was shocked the first time he openly discussed his personal MS struggles with our class. What really hit home was the way he accepted the brutal challenges he faced while maintaining his chosen path pursuing physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Jim offered a beginning level road cycling class to raise funds for his participation in the 2006 MS Global. So I took his class to learn how to dodge disaster during the 2006 MS150. I learned a lot about the basic technical aspects of cycling, how to change an inner tube, how to not get run over so much, etc. Most substantially I learned about lifestyle changes that could lead to a much better life both on and off the bike, i.e. “The Path”.
When I started “following the path” I just wanted to improve my physical health. I made one small choice at a time in the direction I wanted to go physically. One small choice turned into many, and the first 30 lbs were gone. I found that place where mind, body, and soul are one on my bike. My newly found freedom and happiness were contagious. Coworkers, friends and relatives got excited with me and wanted to join me on the MS 150, so we formed a team.
The Happy Humans were humbled by power of the human spirit during the 2006 MS 150. We reached out as a team and were rewarded with an experience that defies explanation. Through the power of the bike I began to understand what it means to live a life defined by values versus circumstances. To date I’ve lost 75 lbs and am a new person!
I owe a great debt of gratitude to the MS cause. I got involved to do something for my friends and in doing so my life has been changed forever. Recently my cousin was diagnosed with MS. At age 28 her full, happy, consistent life has turned inside out. “Normal life” taken for granted by most of us is no longer a reality and there are many, many more questions than answers. I have renewed inspiration to give more and work harder to end MS. I plan to participate in the 2007 MS Global.