2017-08-12 / Front Page

UNE hosts event to raise money for multiple sclerosis

By LINDSEY HALL

BIDDEFORD — The University of New England hosts the 33rd Bike MS: Great Maine Getaway event to raise money for individuals with MS to live a longer and substantial life. 

Hosted by the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the ride will take place in Biddeford this weekend along the coast of UNE's campus and accompanying towns. Cyclists will ride along Maine’s southern coastline which includes a viewing of “Walkers Point,” the summer home of President George H.W. Bush.

The money raised through this event will go toward MS research and services for those who deal with daily challenges due to MS. 

Susan Tidd, ride director of Maine, says events like these are important for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. 

“There have been a great many strides made in research due to funding,” said Tidd. “Our first progressive MS therapy came out just this year.”

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is a 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.

Bike MS: Great Maine Getaway will take place this today and Sunday. For all participants, there is a minimum fundraising goal of $250.

This year, there will be more than 450 cyclists participating in the two-day 175-mile excursion. Participants can ride individually or as part of a team.

Events such as Bike MS have an impact on many people, more than those involved in the ride.

“Events like these mean we are getting closer to a day when multiple sclerosis is no more,” said Tidd. “This means the many people we serve and their loved ones will be free from the impact this devastating disease has had on them.” 

Bike routes range from 25 to 100 miles, giving participants an option on the duration of the ride. After the race today, there will be a celebration, including an awards ceremony and dinner. On Sunday, there will be a breakfast provided for riders, and a lobster bake upon return.

In 2016, participants of Bike MS traveled over 40,000 miles and raised more than $300,000. This year’s event goal is to raise $450,000. Currently, more than $267,910 has been raised. 

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Bike MS cyclists, volunteers, sponsors and donors have raised more than $1 billion over the years.

The rides will begin on Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. starting at the University of New England Biddeford campus. 

For more information about multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society, visit nationalMSsociety.org.

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