WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – As the sun began to rise Saturday, thousands of cyclists began pedaling for a cause.
“We have over 2,500 people riding and pedaling so they can raise money for people living with MS,” Carrie Nolan, President of the Colorado/Wyoming chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said. “It’s a beautiful day!”
The 32nd Annual Bike MS started Saturday morning in Westminster. Riders will pedal their way to Fort Collins and back for a combined 2-day 169-mile journey. The event raises money for research to find treatments and cure for multiple sclerosis.
Darci Blach is riding for her sister who passed away from the disease. Her family calls their team Patty’s Pack.
“We’re riding in honor of Patti,” Blach said alongside her six children and husband before the ride. “We started 10 years ago and this is our 11th ride. Since we started riding, we now have a list of over 200 friends and family who are affected by MS, so we just feel like it’s such an important cause.”
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding.
“Everyone is affected differently,” Blach said. “There’s not one medication that helps everybody. We feel it’s really important to further the research.”
Nolan said Bike MS is on track to raise more than $3.5 million dollars with a large portion of that money going to treatments for people living with MS.
“This is a tradition and I always say, a tradition for us is something we do until we find a cure,” she said. “We will ride until we do.”
Many of the riders in the Colorado fundraiser are battling the disease themselves, proving they won’t let MS slow them down. The community riding among them will support them through every curve of the journey.
“It’s something you can’t put into words,” Blach said. “You have to experience it.”
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 This Morning over the weekend and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.