Riders rally America for MS
“I’m somewhere in Missouri,” Don Fraser tells me. As we speak, the program director for the organization “Bike the US for MS” is on his way to rendezvous with a group of fellow bicyclists.
After college, Fraser wasn’t quite sure what his next step should be. One thing he did know was that he wanted to bike across the country. Living with a mother who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Fraser started planning how he could make a difference via bicycling for her and others who suffered from the same health issue.
He came up with the idea for Bike the US for MS, a coming together of cyclists who branch out on different routes, making pit stops along the way to help and inspire individuals with MS, and to raise funding for research. Currently, the groups follow along one of three routes: the Pacific Coast, the Northern Tier, and the TransAm, which all have stops on the West Coast. This Saturday, June 23, a group will be stopping in Santa Cruz, convening at the home of a local with MS to volunteer their time.
Thirty years ago, explains Fraser, there was no medicine aimed directly at MS. Now, there are multiple supplements available and modifying therapies that at least give some people a chance to fight. “It’s a long process, but we’ve come a long way,” he says. “It leaves me feeling very optimistic for the future.”
The volunteers for Bike the US raise funds via pledges from family and friends. One of the most common donations is $1 per mile, which helps the bikers with their expenses on their awareness rides. “It’s about getting the word out, volunteering, and inspiring,” adds Fraser. “We don’t raise much, but at least [people with MS] know that someone’s riding for them and supporting them.”
For more information, visit biketheusforms.org.