The BP MS 150 is an incredible experience that has greatly impacted my life.
It is a two-day bike ride from Houston to Austin, roughly a 150-170 mile journey through the Texas Hill Country. This ride is very special to me as it raises more money than any other cycling event, with people from all walks of life united in passion and with one mission-- to end Multiple Sclerosis.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, who receives the money raised from the BP MS 150, uses 85¢ of every dollar raised on research programs and services, not just in the U.S., but the world. At this point you may be wondering, what is Multiple Sclerosis exactly? Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS, is an auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system. The immune system of someone with MS attacks the Myelin surrounding nerve fibers and even nerves themselves, this damage may cause an extensive number of symptoms. These symptoms range from numbness or slowed cognitive processing, to the more severe like blindness or paralysis, with many others in between. There’s currently no cure for MS and no known cause for it either, reasons why the BP MS 150 and other fundraising initiatives are so very important.
What introduced me to this cause was my own MS diagnosis shortly after my 17th birthday. Initially, I was scared. The diagnosis is heavy, and the symptoms I had to deal with were difficult. I was in denial for quite a long time afterward. What got me out of it was my involvement in the BP MS 150 and the MS community itself. The year I was diagnosed, my dad and his company team all rode in my honor, just knowing they and everyone else contributing to the cause were behind me was incredible. I was inspired, deciding I was going to participate the following year. That first ride was in 2017, making this year my third, and I can promise that I will be doing it every year until someone takes away my bike!
If the cause is not enough to push you to participate in the ride, I can assure you- it’s fun too! Not to mention a great source of exercise. Roughly every 10 miles there are rest stops, each with anything you may want or need to continue the trek. In addition, there are hundreds of volunteers each working to make the ride safe and enjoyable. To top it off, there are people throughout the ride route cheering you on with smiling faces. This is one of my favorite parts of the whole thing.
Getting involved by donating, riding, or volunteering will have an impact on me and the other 2.3 million people worldwide living with MS. Last year the BP MS 150 raised 14 million dollars, that money accompanied with previous years largely contributed to the development life-changing treatments and the search for a cure, one I expect to see it in my lifetime.
The BP MS-150 is an opportunity to challenge yourself, inspire others, help a great cause, and live your life to the fullest. In other words, Live Wild!!