Fundraising for research: One Ottawa researcher biking to make a difference!

Our fundraising season is in full swing at the MS Society. We have bikes, runs, obstacle courses and more to encourage people to get involved. The funds generated from these events are critical to the MS Society in so many ways- especially when it comes to funding research. Dr. Mark Freedman, a MS Society funded researcher, makes a difference not only through his MS research, but also by fundraising and getting involved in MS Society events. This year he’s biking over 200km in support of MS and raising thousands of dollars in the process. Recently, I had a few minutes to talk to Dr. Freedman about his fundraising efforts.

How many times have you participated in the MS Bike tour?

I’ve done it just about every year since I moved to Ottawa in 1993. It’s gotten harder- it’s no longer just a 150km ride, it’s about 225km now! Each of my children has done the ride with me at some point. It’s been wonderful.

What motivated you to start participating in the MS Bike?

That’s easy. I love biking! The first year I took part in the MS Bike, it was small and I had never heard of it before. It’s grown immensely over the years! Participating in the MS Bike was natural for me- I work with MS, I have grants from the MS Society, the bike is about raising money for research- it makes sense. I’m utilizing the funds in the hope of trying to further the field, so why not contribute?

Do you have any encouraging words for people thinking of getting involved in fundraising efforts for the MS Society?

I’ve been involved with the MS Society for many years. I’ve sat on the Medical Advisory Committee, I’ve sat on the grants review committee, and I’ve been awarded MS Society grants myself. I’ve seen firsthand the types of research studies that are being funded by the MS Society. Quite honestly, it’s research that is very, very focused on MS- its research that simply will not get funded by other agencies. There just isn’t another source of good funding to do this kind of research. The only way we’re going to make a dent in MS, and end MS, is to do focused research, and those funds come from the MS Society of Canada.

Last year, I raised over $20,000 through fundraising for the MS Bike. Over the last 20 years, I’ve raised probably over a quarter of a million dollars. If all the doctors and clinic directors participated, can you imagine the kind of money that would be raised? You don’t have to be an MS researcher to do this. The bike tour is a family friendly event! It’s a great couple of days!

What are your hopes for the future in regards to MS research?

A few years ago I became very impressed with the body’s ability to heal itself, and became interested in stem cell treatments and cell-based therapies. I believe this will be a way to advance the field. The only way to get funds to do these types of experiments is to raise money for the MS Society. So, I keep doing it until my legs won’t let me.

To support Dr. Freedman in the MS Bike, donate here!


The MS Society has a ton of fundraising events to get involved in! Interested in biking for MS? Find out the details of upcoming bike tours here. Biking not your thing? Check out Muck MS- a 5km mud run with obstacles throughout! Upcoming dates in Quebec City, Ottawa, Hamilton and Chilliwack. Want something a little less mucky? Check out our MS Walk. The funds from these events go towards the MS Society’s mission: to be a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis, and enabling those affected by MS to enhance their quality of life. Researchers like Dr. Freedman rely on funds from the MS Society to continue to carry out their research. So get involved today!

I’ll be mucking it out in Ottawa on September 13th…hope to see you there!

Categories Research

National vice-president, research, past MS researcher, and PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from University of Ottawa. Leads the MS Society's research program to find the cure for MS and improve the quality of life for people affected by the disease.

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