Cyclists pedal to FMU finish line

Cyclists+pedal+to+FMU+finish+line

Photo by: Jasmine Moultrie

Over 1,500 cyclists participated in the 25th annual Bike MS: Breakaway to the Beach Multiple Sclerosis ride on Sept. 25 and 26. Francis Marion University served as the day one finish line in the two-day event, which ended in Sunset Beach, NC.

Jasmine Moultrie, Staff Writer

Francis Marion rolled out the red carpet for over 1,500 cyclists for the 25th Annual Bike MS: Breakaway to the Beach Multiple Sclerosis ride on Sept. 25 and 26.

Bike MS: Breakaway to the Beach is a two-day fundraising bike ride organized by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Society.

This ride is one of longest standing non-profit events of its kind in the Carolinas with an average of 1,500 cyclists and 400 volunteers.

“We are so excited to have our event here at the university,” Chapter President Lori Hurch said. “The administration, faculty and students have been very supportive of the event.”

The two-day event brought cyclists from the greater Charlotte metropolitan areas to the day one finish line at FMU. Cyclists continued their journeys to the final finish line in Sunset Beach, N.C.

Many cyclists enjoyed the scenery that Francis Marion had to offer.

“I like the campus. It is very spacious, and the finish line was great. There were a lot of people out there cheering, and this site is one of the best I have been to in the 25 years of the event,” cyclist “Tippy” Thibodeau said.

There was a live band, food and an award ceremony for three cyclists and two volunteers that have participated in the event for the past 25 years.

Over $800,000 was raised for the event. The money raised for the event is devoted to national programs and research into the cause and cure of MS.

Local services and programs for families living with MS in South Carolina and 33 counties of Western North Carolina are benefited from the event.

Many cyclists participated in the event for numerous reasons. Some were riding for family members or friends that struggle with MS, and some participated because the event was for a good cause.

Cyclist Phyllis Martin, who was honored with the Lifetime Rider Award, lives with MS daily.

“Each event is special,” Martin said. “You constantly meet more delightful people each year. It’s like a family reunion for all of us, but the ultimate day will be when we no longer have to do this and there is a cure for MS.”

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another.

There are approximately 400,000 Americans living with MS. Every week 200 people are diagnosed with the diseases. Currently there is no cure for MS.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is constantly trying to make its vision come true: a world free of MS. The organization has seen major changes and improvements with the treatment for MS and with medicine.

For more information about multiple sclerosis or to find out ways how to help create a world free of MS, visit www.nationalmssociety.org.