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Check out what these Bike MS teams and individuals are doing in their effort to help create a world free of MS. Get some great ideas from other top teams and VIPs regarding fundraising, recruitment, bike safety, and much more!
Put your team in the spotlight. If your team is a good fit for any of the categories below, email us with your story and photo, and have a chance to be featured in an upcoming e-newsletter.
Teaming Up in Memoriam:
Teaming Up with Movement:
Frank Boka has a direct connection to the MS Society – which is why he is dedicated to raising more funds each year until we find a cure!
Frank has been involved with City to Shore for six years and has refined his fundraising technique to make sure he meets his goal every year. In the first year, he registered late and didn’t start fundraising until August. He realized that by kicking off early and contacting everyone every 6-8 weeks, he could ensure he was not being a pest, but still getting his message across.
The key to his success is to reach out early, reach out often and make it personal. Frank kicks off the year by reminding people that he will be participating in the Ride again, and keeping them up to date on his year round training. Each message he sends is personalized and he uses both his Participant Center and his personal email to connect with his supporters. He also makes the most of every interaction, by reminding people about his fundraising campaign when he sees them in person, and follows up to everyone with a personal email. He utilizes his networks, seeking donations from anyone who crosses his path during the year including neighbors, family, friends, former classmates and colleagues.
His technique has paid off, having raised $86,916 since 2011. Each year, he has increased totals including surpassing the $20,000 mark this year. For 2017, he hopes to raise cumulatively over $100,000.
Volunteers like Pam Craighead make City to Shore possible. Pam has been involved with the MS Society since receiving a diagnosis of MS 23 years ago. During this time, her husband Jeff has been riding for her at City to Shore.
Since 2006, Pam has volunteered on the City to Shore planning team and helped out at the finish line. Pam's MS allows her mobility, which motivates her to volunteer for others who can’t.
"Rookie riders riding for the first time, especially those riders that are riding for someone who is newly diagnosed... come to the finish line [and] tell their story to me. It's such an emotional, amazing experience," Pam says. "You get more from it than you give."
Volunteers like Terry Fresconi make Bike to the Bay possible. Terry got involved with the MS Society shortly after her diagnosis in 2001. She and her family sponsor the Plantations Margaritaville Rest Stop. They decorate the rest stop with tropical pictures and dress in Hawaiian-like attire. Each rider that comes through is given a lei and offered food, drinks, and whole lot of gratitude.
“It’s all about making the experience for every rider that comes in just so prolific,” says Terry, “that they feel good about what they’ve done riding all day long.”
Terry says she is constantly inspired by everyone who volunteers. For her and her family, it’s the event of the year.
“When we see the riders coming, the whole rest stop starts screaming and yelling and clapping,” says Terry. “For 1 rider or twenty, it doesn't matter – you get noise from us and a lot of it.”
They may make it look easy, but Team UPHS/PENN works hard for every dollar they raise. And they’ve raised a lot of them — over $2 million in fact. That makes them the team that has raised the most money in City to Shore history, and the first team ever to hit this milestone. And despite the Ride’s cancelation in 2015, they had the best fundraising and recruitment year ever, recruiting 350 team members and raising over $273,000.
Team UPHS/PENN’s run of successes dates back nearly a decade. They’ve reached $100,000 in fundraising for nine years in a row. 2015 was also their fifth year in a row winning the Top Fundraising Team Award, and their seventh year in a row winning the Largest Corporate Team Award. They even won the Most Improved Team Award in 2015 as the team who exhibited the most growth with recruitment. In 2010, the received the highest honor, being awarded the Larry Kane Chairman Cup.
So how does the number one team stay on top? It starts with an aggressive recruitment plan. They have sign-up days at all UPenn Health System locations that are led by local team representatives. They ask anyone they can, and aren’t shy about encouraging people to join or raise more money.
Once a team member is signed up, the real work begins. Team Captain, Dan Wilson, and the rest of the team approach fundraising with an unrivaled enthusiasm and seriousness. The team’s fundraising plan puts a major focus on outreach. Gary Schieb, UPHS’ Chief Operating Officer and former team captain, is known for sending out helpful fundraising tips to all team members. And every week, they seek out riders who have yet to raise money and encourage them to do so. The team also realizes the power of recognition. They do a fantastic job of congratulating VIP fundraisers, and every team member gets a free jersey when they raise the $300 minimum.
If you think Team UPHS/PENN may slow down, they have other ideas. They already have over 200 members registered for City to Shore 2016. “2015 was awesome and we did not even ride,” said Dan Wilson, Team Captain. “This will be our 20th year riding, and it is shaping up to be our best year yet as we hope to surpass 400 riders and $275,000.”
It was almost 24 years ago when Sandra was diagnosed with progressive MS. 10 years after her diagnosis her husband Frank, who is now a VIP cyclist, signed up for his first City to Shore Ride.
For many years, Frank’s “reason to ride” came to the Ocean City finish line. But a few years ago, Sandra was unable to travel.
That’s when Frank reached out to the MS Society for help. We were able to arrange for a caretaker to be at their house during the Ride, and Frank rode in City to Shore knowing his wife was taken care of.
This year, Frank and Sandra received some exciting news that the first treatment for progressive MS should hit the market in 2016. When you ride in Bike MS: City to Shore, you are raising money that directly benefits people like Sandra and Frank, and the over 15,000 local people living with MS.
This year will mark Team Y’s Guys 25th year participating in Bike MS: Bike to the Bay. Over the years, the team has raised more than $500,000 for people living with MS. They have achieved Top Fundraising team status for the past eight years, nine years overall, and have been one of the top 3 biggest teams for the past 14 years, and the largest team for seven years.
Led by captain Tom Harrigan, Y’s Guys began with only eight members — all from the local YMCA, who has been the team's sponsor from the start. They’ve come a long way since then, raising nearly $50,000 in 2015 with 59 members. The team attributes their growth to word of mouth, the excitement surrounding the event, and especially as a result of the great fun, enthusiasm, and welcoming attitude teammates have consistently brought to the experience.
Recruitment is just one piece of the puzzle. Once a new member is signed on, the fundraising begins. Teammates are encouraged to set a fund raising goal that represents a stretch beyond the minimum. For example, for veterans, shoot for 10% more than they raised the prior year. Each year, the team's top 10 fundraisers are given special recognition at the team's annual, post ride awards party, using donated or purchased items as prizes.
The team is also known for its sense of community. When preparing for the ride, the Y’s Guys cultivate that community by hosting weekly, no drop, training rides, that almost always have a post-ride social component. During the event weekend, they wear their sponsor provided/branded team t-shirts, and gather at the team hospitality tent at the Saturday finish. This year, in celebration of their 25th year riding, a custom designed Y's Guys team cycling jersey will be available to all past and present team members for purchase.
When Craig Dundon started riding in 2007, he had his sights on becoming a VIP. Once he achieved that, he redoubled his efforts in 2008 and soared into the Top 250 — that’s where he’s stayed ever since. Now in his ninth year, Craig has raised over $25,000 for people living with MS.
Craig’s reason for fundraising is deeply personal.
His wife Leslie was diagnosed with MS in 2007, the same year Craig started his Bike MS journey. In January of 2015, Leslie was hospitalized for a severe MS exacerbation. Two months later, she was in a rehab facility and working towards coming home. But there was a problem. Their bathroom was not accessible, and Craig wasn’t sure what to do. In March, he called the MS Society and spoke with one of our MS Navigators. Through some hard work, and a little bit of luck, we were able to get the paperwork through and Craig and Leslie were awarded a HomeAble grant.
After finding out we could help fund the bathroom modification, Craig was speechless. Finally, he said, “This makes every pedal worth it.” The project was completed just days before Leslie returned home.
Craig’s involvement with Bike MS has helped so many people over the years, and there is no one more deserving of a helping hand. It’s your fundraising that makes projects like these possible.
For the past 13 years, Team NFI has volunteered and cycled for the cause in the National MS Society’s Bike MS: City to Shore Ride. Each year, riders and volunteers have raised funds and participated in the annual 150-mile bike ride from Cherry Hill to Ocean City, N.J. to help fight MS.
NFI, a supply chain management company based in Cherry Hill, is the official logistics sponsor for the event. For the third consecutive year, NFI will leverage its resources and provide full logistics, transportation, and warehousing services for supplies such as food and beverage items, bicycles, luggage, and bike racks. The company partners with the MS Society to ensure first-rate execution of the two-day journey for all 7,000 cyclists by warehousing, transporting, and tracking all items for each rest stop along the way.
Furthermore, NFI is looking to build a team of more than 100 employees, friends, and family to ride and volunteer for the event this year. One of the company’s core values is social responsibility, and the team is eager to uphold these values by riding for MS.
Melissa Isibel of NFI says she rides for her kids. “I ride to set an example, to show them that everyone can do something to help,” Isibel said. “I also ride for three of my friends that live with MS every day.”
All cyclists of Team NFI will proudly display why they ride during the Bike MS: City to Shore on September 29th and 30th. On the back of the team’s custom jerseys, it asks “Why I Ride:” with space for each team member to write in his or her personal connection to the event.
Other team members have stated that they ride for loved ones with MS, camaraderie, or simply to volunteer for a good cause.
Throughout the years, Team NFI has contributed over $316,000 to the Bike MS event. The team is continuing their support by aiming to reach a fundraising goal of $50,000 for the City to Shore this year. To date, NFI has raised over $22,000 in 2012 and will continue to work towards their goal until the event.
For Jersey’s Team, this year’s Bike MS: City to Shore Ride is a million miles in the making. After the round trip journey to Ocean City in September, Jersey’s team hopes to be the third team in the ride’s history to surpass the $1 million cumulative fundraising total. Not to mention being the smallest team to ever do it.
“Jersey's Team was started 13 years ago, in honor of my father, Jerald (Jersey) Brownstein, who was diagnosed 20 years ago with Progressive MS,” said team captain Andrea Rosenthal. “In addition to riding to help raise money for MS, we also believe it is important to raise awareness of MS, what it is and how we can help those who are affected by a diagnosis.”
Having participated for the past 10 years, Rosenthal was named the number one fundraiser after last year’s century ride. The Ambler, Pa. resident rode 175 miles in two days.
“My personal goal for this year is to raise $20,000. While my husband and two daughters will be riding with me, we as a family hope to raise at least $25,000,” Rosenthal said. “I would really like to see our team raise over $90,000 this year so that we will have collectively raised over $1 million. I am in awe of how well our small team does with fundraising.”
Fundraising is not all that drives this team to greatness. They have become their own unique family. With this year’s team growing to about 100 riders; it is definitely a big family full of incredibly fun giving individuals.
We provide biking shirts for our team, sport shirts for our team and their families, a pep rally dinner,” Rosenthal said. “And for those pedaling both ways, we provide housing and a team dinner in Ocean City.”
"I am really proud of Jersey's team,” Rosenthal said. “Not just for all that we accomplish as a team with fundraising and raising awareness but also for what we do for one another and being a part of ‘Jersey's Team’."
To celebrate their 10th anniversary riding in Bike MS: City to Shore, St. Albert the Great Gators is riding for a reason. Team Captain Tony Faillace has a goal for his team; he wants to be the largest City to Shore team as a celebration of their commitment. Tony has reached out to all past team members to encourage them to join the team, as riders or fundraising volunteers.
“In the end, what’s most important is that we are raising funds to support the National MS Society to Stop, Restore and End MS,” Tony said in his letter to past members. “I will still ask that everyone register and raise at least $300 so everyone can be an official team member and St. Albert’s can be in the running to be the largest City to Shore Team.”
Last year the team raised $42,157 with only 61 team members. This year, Tony plans to ride the last mile as a team and cross the finish line in Ocean City together. They’re also hosting a GRS Course this summer, ensuring team members become responsible cyclists.
“What a thrill and what a way to commemorate 10 years,” Tony said.
After winning the Outstanding First Year Team Award in 2012, Raising Caine’s team captain Trish McFadden has set her sights even higher this year.
Trish had no idea what MS was, nor knew anyone with MS, when a friend invited her to join St. Albert the Great Gators team in 2003. When Trish sent a fundraising letter to help obtain donations, it caught the attention of fellow church members Mike Caine, diagnosed with MS in 1992, and his wife Joan, were recipients of the letter. Trish asked Mike to be her Peddle Partner (previous term for Bike MS Champion) and has been riding for him ever since. At the finish line, where Mike waited to meet her, she wore an orange scarf with Mike’s signature -- a tradition they have continued for every year since.
Last year, Trish decided to take this tradition a step further and start a team for Mike. With 19 members raising $28,000, Raising Caine was off to a great start. For 2013, Trish hopes to recruit 23 cyclists and raise 30,000.
Raising Caine’s mission is “to make a difference so that in the future no one will have to hear the devastating words You have MS.” Trish admits that “every year training is hard but it’s not hard compared to what Joan and Mike live with. Every year I cry, every year I see Mike and that is what gets me there. As hard as that ride is when I see Mike at the finish line, that is what gets me to the finish line.” Trish continues to send handwritten letters every year and includes a picture of her and Mike at the finish line. Raising Caine does not just ride. They Bike MS.
Watch this video to hear first-hand from Trish about why she rides and how she won the Outstanding First Year Team award in 2012.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Merck team is still going strong. The team joined the ride in 1993 with this year marking the 20th consecutive year that the team has participated in the Bike MS: City to Shore Ride. Over the years the team has raised more than $1.3 million and continually takes home top team awards and top ranking titles year after year including “Best Rookie Team” their first year, “Corporation of the Year” and the always coveted “Larry Kane Chairman’s Cup.”
Not only has the Merck team been very successful at fundraising for the Society, the weekend of the ride has been a great bonding experience for employees, forming lasting memories and exemplifying Merck’s commitment to community service. In the history of the team, over 2,250 Merck cyclists have made the journey, riding a total of more than 200,000 miles!
The Merck Cycling Team, with the continued support of Merck & Co., Inc., has also helped to promote the Merck brand. The team has worn jerseys bearing the Merck logo, and in years past also showing the names of select products. The result has been a “buzz” among the thousands of participants, spectators, volunteers and others that Merck is a respected sponsor of this worthwhile effort. This year, to celebrate the long-standing tradition of participating in this ride, the Merck team will be sporting a special edition commemorative jersey in honor of their 20th anniversary.
Merck continuously ranks among the top three teams year after year, including 2011. The 115-member team raised nearly $70,000 last year and plans to be bigger and better than ever in 2012.
D&Q, a top sponsoring bike shop and team, is celebrating 30 years of commitment to City to Shore in 2013! Watch their video to learn more about their involvement in City to Shore and why they ride year after year.
Peddler's Shop, a top sponsoring bike shop and team, is celebrating 30 years of commitment to City to Shore in 2013! Watch their video to learn more about their years with City to Shore.
Stephen Clyde has been riding in City to Shore with a few of his family members for the past four years. This year, he decided to build a team with very large goals.
I wanted to recruit 50 members and raise $50,000, he said, although the money goal was really just to get his team members motivated to raise as much as they could. He didn’t expect to hit that number.
Stephen and his teammates got their employer Re/Max Connection Realtors involved and invited co-workers and past customers to join them. They held happy hours to recruit more riders and teamed up with the Outdoor Club of South Jersey. In the end, they recruited more than 60 team members and more than 10% earned VIP status.
Re/Max was not only involved in helping his team recruit riders. They also signed on as a finish line sponsor for the event. “We’re dedicated to helping and serving our communities and families,” said Christopher J. Brown, President and CEO of RE/MAX Connection Realtors, in an interview with the South Jersey Sun. “We’re proud to support the Bike MS Ride and other foundations that are dedicated to research that saves lives and creates cures.”
That’s extremely important to this team, as many are affected by the disease. Stephen Clyde’s niece Rosemary lives (and rides) with MS. Co-captain Brenda Richmond’s late sister lived with MS. Stephen said many of the people they recruited said they knew someone with the disease.
The first year, Stephen rode in Rosemary’s honor with his orange bandana signed by his niece. He said she met him at the finish line and asked if she could ride the following year. She’s ridden 100 miles each year since then.
And they’ll be back in the saddle again next year. Stephen said Re/Max and the Outdoor Club of South Jersey are both already on board, and he hopes to recruit 100 riders and hit that $50,000 fundraising mark in 2012.
Spanning across two states, members of the team Biking Las Vegas have a common goal: moving towards a world free of MS. The Biking Las Vegas team has been involved with Bike MS for a number of years now, participating in Vegas Challenge as the largest team contributor for the past two years.
This year, six members of the team will also be taking part in City to Shore ride: Captain Lisa Caterbone, Lynetta Welsh, Greg Fasano and Jorge Ayala of Las Vegas, and Mike Gosnear and Rob Westermann of N.J.
Although not all members of the 1,100-strong team will be able to join us for City to Shore, the entire team will be here in spirit. Gosnear, who has been a City to Shore rider for 10 years, spent two years in Las Vegas where he met his fellow Biking Las Vegas cyclists before returning to his hometown in N.J.
The team has raised $2,000 thus far and has secured a team sponsor in Grotto Pizza.
Once was not enough for Team Dimension Data. Last year’s “Outstanding First Year” team is back for another ride. The team will once again journey 150 miles to Ocean City in memory of a dear colleague and friend who passed away in 2010. “[He] participated in the event 2 years ago. We are doing this ride for him, as well as all others that are affected by MS,” said team member Kendall Kerstein.
Last year the team sponsored the Egg Harbor Township rest stop, winning the “most festive rest stop” accolades. This year the team will once again be a rest stop sponsor.
Team captain Cy Condit credits their recruitment efforts to the support they have received from their employer who is covering their expenses for the weekend. “This has been a great experience for our company. We all come together as one and it’s a very inspirational event that I don’t think we will ever forget,” said Kerstein.
Kerstein is busy planning the logistics for the weekend booking hotels and shuttles and planning team dinners. The captains have also set up a webinar about training procedures and other logistics to prepare the riders to ride 150 miles.
Last year the team raised over $75,000 winning the “Corporate Team of the Year” award and hopes to surpass this amount in 2012.
Members of Team Janney go the distance when it comes to raising money and awareness for Bike MS: City to Shore Ride. In 2007, the team raised more than $1,200 through a cyclethon in the lobby of its Center City office building.
Team members borrowed two stationary bikes from the gym next door and took shifts riding, keeping the pedals moving from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. one day in the lobby’s window. Volunteers manned a team table and helped collect donations, register new cyclists and hand out Phillies towels to donors. All showed Team Janney pride by wearing their team jerseys.
The team’s display raised awareness among people passing on the street, fellow employees at Janney Montgomery Scott and workers at other companies sharing their building. It also generated great coverage for the team and the ride on NBC10.
The team, led by Ed Blumenthal and Karen Shakoske, has been a part of City to Shore since 2000. In addition to their annual company happy hour fundraiser, the team will hold another cyclethon on September 17.
Team fundraisers are a great way to bring your team together and raise money. Consider Screens 'N' Spokes' colorful ideas:
Screens 'N' Spokes had big ideas for its inaugural year as a City to Shore team, raising money for people living with MS by selling screen prints at art shows and online. The posters featured an array of artists including Jay Ryan, Leia Bell, strawberryluna, Cricket Press, Eleanor Grosch and many others.
A fan of Pearl Jam, Team Captain Sam Verrill had seen the band commission screen prints for concerts, then sell them to benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. He and girlfriend Jessica Harris decided to give the idea a try, with great success.
In its first year, Screens N Spokes attracted about 20 artists and raised more than $31,000 for local people living with MS.
This year, Verrill expects to have 25 to 30 artists involved. The team already has 25 cyclists, and he hopes to raise $30,000.
"Screens 'N' Spokes is all about awesome art and a great cause," Verrill said. Click here to see the team's screen prints or buy art online.
Having a personal reason to ride and a connection with the Society's mission can make all the difference when you're building your team.
Just ask Kathy Cleary and her husband, Tom, who created Team Beth in 2006 to honor and help Beth Koch Higgins, a close friend and mother of two who's living with MS.
With only four team members that first year, Team Beth raised $10,000. That first year's success motivated Tom, Kathy and Beth's friends and family to do more.
Team Beth attended the ride launch party and the Rookie Rider Expo in 2007. Their outreach paid off - the team was City to Shore's most improved last year, recruiting 32 cyclists and raising $25,000 to help Beth and others living with MS.
The momentum continues; this year, the team already has raised $9,000 and grown to nearly 60 cyclists. All of the cyclists will ride with bright orange bandanas Beth has signed, reminding them of why they're riding.
Share with your team the reason you ride in City to Shore. Like Team Beth, giving meaning to your team can help your cyclists gain momentum as they train and fundraise to create a world free of MS.
In 2013, LiquidHub will host a team in the Bike MS: City to Shore for the eighth consecutive year. After crossing the finish line and enjoying the City to Shore’s festivities on September 28th, LiquidHub team members and supporters will enjoy a few festivities of their own.
Every year, thanks to the continued support by LiquidHub’s management (many of whom participate as riders), the company hosts a post-ride celebration at their team condo in Ocean City and a pre-ride preparation dinner for the team members riding the 25 mile route option. One member even brings his guitar to play and sing for the Friday night group. Team members look forward to great food and fellowship at the reception located right in the heart of the finish line activities on 6th and boardwalk. The LiquidHub banner on the porch and the aroma of food from within is welcome after the ride. A highlight is always the cake, which features a picture of the team from the previous year.
The team condo is a key part of the experience of City to Shore for the LiquidHub team members. Many team members bring their families to enjoy a weekend in Ocean City, visiting the boardwalk to enjoy the many amusements and sample all of the good food. Ocean City is the perfect destination, the team condo adding to the overall ride weekend experience.
The LiquidHub team consists of Associates, friends, and family members who enjoy this rewarding challenge year after year. LiquidHub is a leading provider of IT consulting services, headquartered in the Greater Philadelphia area. Since the team began in 2006, LiquidHub has covered registration fees, provided jerseys, and hosted a big cook out that features a different menu every year. The LiquidHub team is hoping to reach a cumulative fundraising milestone of $100K this year, a milestone which they believe will bring us closer to a world free of MS!
For Mark's Tsunami Riders, City to Shore is not just about a nice ride on a fall day, but about raising money to create an end to multiple sclerosis. To prove it, team captain Betty Stewart requires each team member to raise at least $1,000, making VIPs out of all 20 cyclists in the 2007 City to Shore ride.
Riding in honor of Betty's husband Mark, this friends and family team has been breaking fundraising records since it began in 2003.
As the #1 fundraising cyclist in 2007, Betty's determination for raising money to create a world free of MS has transferred to her team members. Last year, seven of its 20 team members were part of the Top 250 Club, with the team raising a total of $92,800.
Not only did Mark's Tsunami Riders received numerous team awards in 2007 for their fundraising, including the Highest Fundraising Average and the Team VIP award, but the team also was honored with the chapter's MS Partners Award to recognize Betty's -- and her cyclists' -- deep commitment to the mission of the National MS Society.
Although team members are ultimately responsible for reaching VIP status, Betty also incorporates a number of team fundraisers to make it fun and help the team. Plus, she and her team members seek out corporate sponsorship to help the team reach its goals.
To thank the team for their tremendous efforts, Betty hosts a team party at her house before the ride. To visit Mark's Tsunami Riders' Web site, click here.
Now in its fourth year of riding, Team Janney strives to challenge its riders to have them participate in a two-day ride. With that challenge comes the need to provide a place for riders to rest and refuel for the ride on Day 2.
In the initial years of the team’s participation in the City to Shore ride, team members graciously opened up their homes in Ocean City and Avalon to accommodate riders for the evening. Last year, the team took advantage of renting a large condominium in Ocean City that comfortably slept over 20 members of the team -- allowing riders to relax, rest and gear up for the ride home the next day.
This location serves as not only a place to stay for the night, but also as a chance to enjoy each other’s company off the road. A catered Team Janney dinner was held at the condo and awards for Rookie Rider of the Year and Top Fundraiser were presented. The relaxed and casual atmosphere was the perfect end to an exhausting day.
Team Janney plans to organize accommodations for this year’s ride with the hopes of more two-day riders and reaching an even higher fundraising goal.
Click on the video to learn how and why cyclist Albert DeRitis fundraises, earning him the coveted top fundraising spot four years in a row (2012-2015)!