Guest post by Becky Kinney, MS Bike ambassador
Multiple sclerosis (MS) has always been present in my life. When I was born, my grandmother was already in a wheelchair. She lived with MS for over 25 years, spending much of that time in a care facility until she passed away. We couldn’t have conversations at all, so we were unable to build that special grandmother-to-grandchild relationship that so many others cherish. MS took that from us.
The feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming when someone close to you has MS. All you want is to improve their quality of life and take some of their pain away, but there’s only so much you can do. The fear of the unknown is also a major struggle as well. MS is such an unpredictable disease, so it’s hard to know what your loved one’s future holds when they are affected by it.
In my grandmother’s case, her MS progressed very slowly. She lived a long time in pain and discomfort. Each case is different, and you don’t know how it’s going to affect you, how long you will have, or what’s going to happen. When you have MS, you’re often in the dark.
Even though my grandmother’s gone, I’m still here fighting for a cure. I don’t want someone to feel what my grandmother and family felt. One of my friend’s moms has been living with MS for 25 years herself. She encouraged me to do my first MS Bike event with her and I’ve gone every year since. It truly fuelled the fire within me. If she can bike and be such a strong advocate against MS, then why shouldn’t I be doing something too?
When I first signed up for the MS Bike in 2015, I wasn’t sure how to raise money, so I did a bottle drive and drove around, picking up refundables from friends, family, and a few local restaurants. The bottle drive has become an annual event and has gone from raising $450 the first year to raising $1,700 in 2017.
In 2016, I wanted to amp up my fundraising efforts for MS Bike, so I planned and held a fundraiser where I sold mimosas and mason jar bouquets. This has also become an annual event, and I have now raised over $10,000 for MS research. I cannot wait to continue all these fundraising efforts and keep donating time and money to this worthy cause.
Despite whether it’s pouring rain or a heat wave, all of the MS Bike events I’ve been to have been incredible experiences. The positive energy of everyone around you, especially when many of the participants are currently living with MS, is so inspiring. I want to help show them that people do care and support them. I bike for my grandmother, I bike for my friend’s mom, and I bike for anyone who has or will have MS as part of their lives.
Becky is an MS Bike ambassador who lives in Whistler, BC. As someone who has only known a life affected by MS, she understands the long-term impact it can have on entire families and communities. Join her at MS Bike and help us cycle towards a cure: www.msbike.ca