MS Bike, Canadian Society’s Annual Fundraiser, Returns to Live Rides

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by Lindsey Shapiro, PhD |

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The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has opened MS Bike, an annual cycling event to raise awareness and funds for research and services that make the difference for the more than 90,000 Canadians living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Conducted in an entirely virtual format due to COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, this year marks the return of in-person cycling events, with virtual options also available.

“After two years apart, we’re thrilled to be coming together as a community in locations across the country for the MS Bike, raising awareness and important funds for those affected by MS,” Kyla Arsenault, senior director of community fundraising at MS Society of Canada, said in the group’s press release.

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“The MS Bike is a testament to the resilience of the MS community who have faced tremendous uncertainty, on top of an already uncertain disease, throughout this pandemic. Regardless of where or how they cycle, MS Bike participants are taking collective action to diminish that uncertainty and move us closer to a world free of MS,” Arsenault added.

To participate, cyclists are invited to register for any of 11 in-person bike rides across Canada or sign up to ride virtually in their own neighborhood. Individuals wishing to participate as a group can join an existing team or start their own.

The fundraiser, which runs over four months, kicked-off with the 24th annual Fraser Valley MS Bike in British Columbia on June 18 and 19. In-person events will run until the final ride — the 22nd annual Waskesiu MS Bike Ride — on Sept. 17.

While COVID-19 restrictions may differ across in-person sites, the MS Society says it will monitor the situation and take all necessary safety precautions.

People choosing to take part in a virtual ride will have access to the same fundraising tools, resources, and rewards as those participating in in-person events, the society said.

After choosing their own date and distance, virtual riders can log their cycling progress and will receive an exclusive finisher medal upon showing that they biked for at least 90 km (about 56 miles).

Other fundraising rewards include MS Bike jerseys and shorts, with an MS Bike jacket available to those who raise CA$5,000 (about $3,850) or more.

Mary MacGregor has biked in the Leduc to Camrose ride in Alberta for almost 20 years, participating in her first ride the year she was diagnosed with MS.

“When you’re first diagnosed with MS, it’s easy to feel scared and isolated,” MacGregor said. “Being a part of the MS Bike that first year after my diagnosis was an emotional experience that allowed me to see that I wasn’t alone. There’s a lot of hope and optimism at the ride, which we continue to see year after year.”

With more than 2,100 registered participants and 382 teams, MS Bike has so far raised about CA$1.4 million toward its goal of CA$4.5 million.

Here are links to a full list of in-person events and to register to ride virtually. Individuals wishing to make a contribution to MS Bike can donate on the event webpage.

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