The next Bike Multiple Sclerosis Cactus and Crude event, a bike run hosted by the National MS Society to raise awareness on this disease, will take place this weekend at the starting line in Midland, TX gathering 200 to 250 cyclists that will ride a total of 150 miles in two days.
The 2014 edition is an anniversary year for the event, and the organization is “trying to make a huge deal” of it, explained Lyndee Groce, development manager for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society South Central Lubbock to the Lubbock Avalanche Journal.
After 25 years of success, the event is already a symbol of the efforts to make MS known. “We do a big overnight thing, a big celebration dinner; we normally have a speaker that kind of talks about what it’s like to live with MS or have a family member that lives with MS,” exemplified Groce.
To become part of this event, participants must have raised a minimum of $250 to be donated to MS research and support services, but usually this amount reaches about $950 per rider.
Participants will start a 75 mile ride from Midland to Big Spring on Saturday, and then they’ll have to face 75 more miles to Post on Sunday.
The ride attracts both experienced bikers and rookies. In Groce’s words, “many participants bike the whole distance, but some choose to skip certain rest stops,” adding that many riders are attracted to this ride “because of the challenge of it.”
One of the participants for the last years has been Michelle Peek, mother of 12 year-old Mallory, who was diagnosed with MS at 3. She started by participating in the MS Walk and now she rides, but her motivation has been always the same, her daughter’s struggle. “I walk because I can. I ride because I can. Mallory can’t. I will do this ride and raise funds until we find a cure,” Mallory’s mother said, as reported by Ellsya Gonzalez in her article on Lubbock Online.
Peek described the ride as difficult, especially when she’s faced with the last “monstrous hill,” but she keeps her mind in her family. “They’re always at the finish line.”
Mallory’s MS manifested first with a one-side paralysis. “Then she came in one day and she couldn’t move her leg. We took her to see her pediatrician. We didn’t really know what was going on,” remembers Peek.
After a few exams, doctors diagnosed Mallory with MS.
MS is usually detected in people in their 20s or 30s, but it also affects between 8,000 and 10,0000 children. It is an irreversible autoimmune disease that causes lesions in the brain, and its symptoms can include fatigue, heat sensitivity, blindness, loss of sensation in limbs, and more.
Mallory is now 12 years old with no history of any flare-ups since she was 4 years old.
“She hasn’t had anything else since those first three attacks. She’s just trying to deal with the brace,” explained Peek.
Next weekend Peek will ride again for her daughter as well as for all MS patients.