I Ride with MS is a Bike MS program that recognizes cyclists who are living with multiple sclerosis.
Anyone living with multiple sclerosis who participates in Bike MS can join the program. Participants enjoy special day-of-event benefits and receive a complimentary "I Ride with MS" jersey provided by Primal Wear. Primal is a proud supporter of the nationwide I Ride with MS program.
I Ride with MS participants are committed to cycling to create a world free of MS, to increase awareness of the disease.Simply indicate you would like to participate when you register or contact the Society today for more information!
Participating in the Bike MS event is one way that I can actually feel like I'm doing something about MS rather than just living with it."–Todd Frauendorfer
The experience of Bike MS is also warm and fuzzy. I felt that immediately—the riders just accepted me right away into the fold."–Nancy Dressel
Even if you may not have a personal connection to MS currently, you are riding for someone by participating in Bike MS.
There was something wrong with her eyes. It was January 2003, and Sally Giamalis had just gotten new contact lenses. She hoped it wasn’t anything more than a problem with her contacts, but she went to the doctor anyway. They told her she had optic neuritis. They even brought up MS. But then the issue went away, and she pushed it to the back of her mind.
A little less than a year later, her eye problems returned. She went back to the doctor, and this time they confirmed it; Sally was diagnosed with MS.
“My close family and friends knew but I didn’t make it public at work,” she said. “I didn’t want anyone to look at me differently, or treat me differently, or think I was less competent or capable from a physical perspective.”
For the next three years, Sally kept her diagnosis private. It wasn’t until recently that she started to be more open.
“The disease is like perfume. It smells different on everybody,” Sally said. “So everybody’s experience with the disease is going to be different. And I wanted to let people know that I have it, and I’m living with it. I’m living well with it. I ride Bike MS.”
Sally got involved with Bike MS three years ago. She was always a cyclist, but never serious about it. Then her partner, Keith, brought up doing Bike MS: City to Shore. He rode in City to Shore in 2013, while Sally volunteered. Stationed at a rest stop helping people, she was determined to ride the following year.
“My goal the first year in 2014 was just to make it,” Sally said. “In 2015 [at Bike to the Bay], my goal was to keep up with the group of riders I was with. I did well the first day, and I was so proud of myself. Day two was a different story. The wind was awful, and I fell off from the group a bit. But Keith — my partner — actually came for me, put his hand on my back and literally pushed me back up with our group. That was a rough day but the stronger guys did a great job leading us to the finish line. We really had a great group and awesome team camaraderie.”
Sally, in a big turnaround from her earlier years of living with MS, rides on a team with her co-workers at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. When she sends out emails telling people she’s riding again, she gives them a heartfelt thank you. Sally recently switched medications and went from giving herself a shot three times a week to taking an oral medication.
She tells them, “I get to take this drug which is a better treatment for my disease. And it’s because of the contributions from people like you.”
Sally believes that cycling is an important addition to her MS treatment. It’s a great way to exercise, and the impact on her body is minimal.
“I think it’s important for me as someone who has the ability to ride and has the disease to get out there and help support the cause,” Sally said. “[I want] to help others as much as possible, because I could be in their shoes one day.”
Overall, Sally is very hopeful for the future. When she looks at the progress that’s been made since she was diagnosed, she can’t even imagine all the advances the future holds.
“Right now, I can say that I’m one of the fortunate people that are fairly non-symptomatic,” Sally said, as she gave her desk a knock for good measure. “Don’t feel sorry for me because I have MS. Look at all I can do — and oh, by the way — it’s just one of the things that is a part of who I am.
Check out NBC 10 Philadelphia's interview with Danny from September 6, 2016.
Danny Silverberg was never a cyclist. But everything changed after he was diagnosed with MS in 2009 at the age of 45.
“For the first two years, functionality wise, I couldn’t ride,” says Danny. “But you’re motivated to help the cause you’re afflicted with.”
Danny just so happened to be good friends with Sid and Jeff Brown, two cyclists on Bike MS: City to Shore’s Team NFI. Throughout Team NFI’s 15 years of riding, they have raised over $450,000, in addition to handling logistics for the ride.
Two years after Danny’s diagnosis, he was feeling much better from treatment and he decided he was going to ride. He thought, “If I can do this, there’s nothing else I can’t do.”
2015 marked Danny’s fourth year as a City to Shore participant. He still loses feeling in his legs pretty quickly on a bike, but he says he won’t stop riding until he has a situation where he can’t. In 2015, he raised more than $14,000 — a far cry from his first year’s goal of $4,000.
“The ride does more than just challenge people. It gives everyone who has MS, or some connection, the opportunity to get involved in something that is going to move research ahead and change where we will be five, 10, and 20 years from now.”
Danny may not have been a cyclist before, but he certainly is now. And he has over 20 family and friends who ride with him every year. He says most of them would have never done something like this.
“My goal is to increase awareness and to show people that it’s okay to do something that’s outside of your comfort zone, especially if you’re doing it for a good cause.”