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Area bikers will pedal for MS cure

By Jewell Cardwell , Akron Beacon Journal

1471 days ago   Article ID# 567846
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National Multiple Sclerosis Society

AKRON, OHIO (Akron Beacon Journal) - Members of the local multiple sclerosis community are hoping for a strong turnout at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's 24th annual ''Bike MS: Pedal to the Point Ride'' on Aug. 14 and 15.

''Cyclists and volunteers are asked to share the challenge to help create a world free of multiple sclerosis,'' wrote Guyla Wehman, spokesperson for the local MS chapter.

The goal of the event, sponsored by Giant Eagle, is to raise $1.3 million to fund quality-of-life services for persons with MS and to fund research to find a cure for this chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system.

''Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis,'' Wehman said. ''Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S., and 2.1 million worldwide.''

Stow's Aaron Hawkins, who will be cycling for the cause, knows all too well the MS story. The 38-year-old was diagnosed in 2003.

Ironically, prior to his arrival at JoAnn's Fabrics & Crafts as accounts payable manager and his diagnosis, several of the employees there already had an MS cycling team.

Hawkins has been in relatively good health, also participating in marathons.

Hawkins — who is passionate about raising research dollars for MS — is captain this year of Team Pure Phoenix Rising (their sponsor is Pure Protein bars).

His hope, apart from a cure for the disease, is for the local ride to grow as large as some of the Texas rides that attract upwards of 10,000 people.

Pedal to the Point has several route options: 30, 75, 100 and 150 miles, so that riders of any age or ability level can participate. ''The route is fully supported with frequent rest stops and an abundance of food along with medical and mechanical support,'' Wehman noted.

''Cyclists who ride for two days and collect a minimum of $250 in contributions by the day of the ride are rewarded with a ticket to Cedar Point or Soak City upon their arrival in Sandusky.''

Additional prizes and achievement awards will be presented.

For more information about MS, the ride or volunteering, please visit http://www.MSohiobuckeye.org or call Lindsay Fairchild at 216-503-4161.

Copyright 2014 Akron Beacon Journal   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1471 days ago   Article ID# 567846

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