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I'll begin with Marjie's story:
My story is not all that different than most people you know; I am the oldest of four siblings with a relatively normal upbringing. I did have the good fortune of growing up overseas for most of my childhood – having lived in Argentina, Spain and London I had opportunities to travel extensively. I suppose that may set me apart from most people.
I always thought of myself as being in good health, sure I had your usual childhood diseases like chicken pox, mumps and measles and tonsils that acted up when I was 18 years old! Otherwise, I navigated through my teens and young adulthood, a passionate equestrian, a not too shabby tennis player and an avid cyclist. I had the good fortune of having two healthy babies, Joshua now almost 24 and Jessica 21. Perhaps a year after Jessica was born, “inexplicable” changes occurred like pain, numbness and tingling in my hand and foot, urinary urgency that was always attributed to “age” and headaches. These symptoms often came and went, no one seemed too concerned and I just learned to deal them. Fast forward ten years to 2005, the headaches returned and an MRI was ordered – it was the beginning of a battery of tests that ensued over the next ten months and on a beautiful spring day in May 2006 I sat before the neurologist and heard him say “You have MS.” The words at first provided some relief, there was something wrong and I was not crazy. The relief quickly vanished, leaving his office with literature on four of the drugs that are often prescribed; my homework was to select one. My daughter learned to give me injections as I had a needle phobia and could not inject myself.
In the beginning living with MS was like having a roommate you can’t stand or an unwelcome guest. My symptoms continued to wax and wane and then I also developed new ones like fatigue – which can be completely debilitating and cognitive issues like memory loss. Exacerbations in between often brought on a temporary blindness or balance problems that meant it was only safe for me to walk with the assistance of a cane. I also developed a rare life threatening complication adding further injury to the brain. I quickly learned that living with MS meant coming to terms with uncertainty, I embraced my good days and pushed myself through the bad ones. While I never wanted Multiple Sclerosis to define me, I am defined by my courage, tenacity and resilience to overcome the obstacles it presents. Living with Multiple Sclerosis has not changed me but has redefined my world and the meaning of patience, compassion, friendship and love.
I have always been a very active person and my greatest fear in living with MS was the threat of being disabled. I made exercise part of my daily routine either going to a yoga class or spin class in the winter months and riding my bike and enjoying the outdoors from spring until fall. In 2009 I participated in my first MS Ride – Cape Cod Getaway. I joined over 2000 cyclists on a 175 mile journey from Boston to Provincetown. It was a physical challenge for me and an unforgettable experience – I made a pact that as long as I was able I would continue to do these rides. I ride for all those living with MS that can’t ride. With notable changes in the MS and worsening symptoms, it has become increasingly more difficult, but I am still able to safely ride. In 2012 “Team Marjie” was formed by my friends and fellow cycling enthusiasts to honor me and join me in raising awareness about Multiple Sclerosis. I will always be grateful to them for their love and support; they have made it possible for me to cross the finish line. This year marks the 4th year “Team Marjie” will ride for MS and 9 years since I heard the words “you have MS”. For me the Bike MS rides are about more than cycling; they are about hope, commitment, and bringing us closer to a world free of MS.
We've formed Team Marjie for Bike MS because we want to experience a great ride and help the National MS Society fund research, advocate for change and help people with MS live their best lives. We believe in this cause. Can we count on your support?
Bike MS is a physical challenge for cyclists of every level, but it’s so much more than just a ride. The camaraderie, passion, and memories that come from sharing this experience with our team will stay with us for a lifetime. Bike MS is a weekend-long and LIFE-long opportunity to make a difference in your own life, and in the world. It’s a group effort that transcends personal accomplishment and touches the lives of the thousands of people affected by MS in our community. Join us! It’s more than a ride—it’s Bike MS.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling, disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Millions of people are affected by MS and the challenges of living with its unpredictable symptoms, which range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS.
Join our team!
Your gift helps support cutting-edge research and programs and services for everyone impacted by MS. Ending MS means no one will receive an MS diagnosis again. Every dollar helps. Every connection matters.
Thank you for your support.
Dad and Jo
Dr. Paul Francis Kelly
Ethel and Irwin Rubenstein
Friends and Family
Jenine & Candido
Marci & Andy
Mom and Dad
Mr. Paul F Grosshart
Mr. Richard Gibson
Ms. Elizabeth A Ryan
Ms. Marjie Whittemore
Ms. Megan Rubin
Ms. Patricia A Mcgrath
Suzanne & Jim Cameron