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Monday, August 22, 2016

There are 2.3 million reasons why you should do the 2016 FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150 bike ride

There are 2.3 million reasons why you should do the 2016 FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150 bike ride
By:  Michael Lander

The FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150 draws a lot of local area cyclists
who ride to support the National MS Society and those who
have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  This is the
thirty-first year of this ride.

Bike MS events aren’t just another bike ride.  They are a bike ride and so much more.

Even though there are hundreds of fundraising cycling events that take place around the country, Bike MS is the largest one of them all.  They attract nearly 100,000 participants to them each year in more than 85 locations throughout the nation.

They also help to raise money and awareness for a disease, (known as
multiple sclerosis), that currently afflicts an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide.

The organization behind Bike MS is the
National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) and, once a year, their Mid-South Chapter hosts its annual FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150 bike ride, which, this year, will take place on September 10 -11, 2016.

This year’s FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150 bike ride will be the thirty-first one in the
Memphis area.

Most participants in the MS-150 ride are with teams and this
year there are 17 of them in the FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150.

Since the first of these rides began in 1985, thousands of cyclists have participated in them and they have, collectively, raised at least $20 million for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society over the past three decades.

While the challenge of trying to do a 150-mile bike ride over a weekend might be what interests some of the cyclists in attempting it, for the majority of participants the reason is often deeper and much more personal than that. 

For them, it is because they have friends, family, co-workers, fellow church members, neighbors, or others who are part of the 2.3 million people who have been stricken with MS.  It is for them that they ride in order to help put an end to what can be a debilitating and life-altering disease.

The Mid-South Chapter of the NMSS hosts the Jack-and-Back
and the FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150 each year.  Last year's
Rock-n-Roll MS-150 drew about 200 participants and the
Mid-South Chapter is hoping for at least 300 this year.

Those who have MS, themselves, can also participate in the program – “I Ride with MS,” which is a special program that recognizes those who have MS and who also want to join the cause to end MS.

Anyone interested in registering for this ride, can
click on this link.  You can get a discount, at registration, by using the code “WELCOME.”

The FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150 bike ride begins at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi, on Saturday, Sept. 10, and ends at Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica, Mississippi, on Saturday evening with a celebratory dinner and program.  The next day, after breakfast at the casino conference center, cyclists then ride back to Landers Center.

The biggest challenge for most participants in the FedEx Rock-n-
Roll MS-150 is - The Wall, which the cyclists face about 30 miles
into the ride if they do the 75 miles on Day 2.

Cyclists have the choice of either doing a 42, 75, or 100-mile ride on the first day and they can either do a 42 or a 75-mile ride on the second day.  The entire event is fully supported with rest stops at about every 10 to 12 miles each day.  Support and gear vehicles are also available and can provide any mechanical or medical support that might be needed.

While participants in this year’s ride can expect much of what they have experienced in the past, the event manager, Kelsey Vaughn, indicated that they can also expect a few surprises.

“This year’s route will be very similar to last year’s, but there may be an extra twist or turn than what they’ve seen before and we will also have some big announcements in store for everyone, too,” Vaughn said.

The Wall is just one of the many challenges that cyclists
face on the 2-day FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150 bike ride,
which can include tolerating heat and enduring the
occasional aches and pains that can come from
riding.  Having rest stops every 10 to 12 miles can
help give participants a much-needed break
before getting back on the road for more.

This year’s event currently has 17 teams and 155 individuals who have registered for it thus farOrganizers of the ride are hoping to have at least 300 cyclists sign up for the ride and to reach their goal of raising a minimum of $300,000.

“Between our Jack-and-Back MS-150 ride and the FedEx Rock-n-Roll, we have been able to raise nearly $1,000,000 each year for the Mid-South Chapter of the MS Society,” Vaughn said. 

All proceeds that are raised support cutting-edge MS research and life-changing services for people living with MS and enable them to live their lives in the best way that they can.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society mobilizes people and resources so that everyone affected by multiple sclerosis can live their lives with the hope that one day they will stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost, and end MS forever.


The ride around Arkabutla Dam can be a very nice and
scenic view for those who decide to do the 75 miles
on Day 2 of the MS-150.

In order to fulfill this mission, the NMSS funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education, collaborates with MS organizations around the world, and provides services designed to help people with MS and their families.

In 2015 alone, the NMSS provided $122.2 million to help more than one million individuals connect to the people, information and resources they needed.  Also, to help move us closer to a world free of MS, the NMSS also invested $54 million to support more than 380 new and ongoing research projects around the world.

Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with MS. You can learn about your options by talking to your health care professional and by contacting the NMSS at
nationalMSsociety.org or calling them at 1-800-344-4867.

There's always time for some fun and a laugh during the
FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150.  The event's manager,
Kelsey Vaughn, is pictured on the left.

The disease that the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is working to put an end to is an unpredictable, and is often disabling disease to the central nervous system, disrupting the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and the body.

The symptoms of MS range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progression, severity, and specific symptoms of MS is often different for each person and its affect on each individual cannot yet be predicted.

Most people who are diagnosed with MS are between the ages of 20 and 50 and there are two to three times more women than men who are told that they have MS.

Bike MS is sponsored nationally by their premier national sponsors
Primal, Bicycling Magazine, True Fitness, Kenda Tires, Showers Pass, and People for Bikes.  Local sponsors include FedEx and Gold Strike Casino Resort.

The volunteers for the FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150 may be one
of the best parts of doing this ride.  Many cyclists are
especially happy to see them when they're handing them
their medals at the end of the 2-day ride.

In addition to their sponsors, there are a lot of others who help make the MS-150 bike rides happen.

“Hosting an event of this size requires a small army.  The weekend of the event, we will have 10 society staff members, 100 volunteers, dozens of local police officers, and many supportive sponsors who all come together to put on an extraordinary ride,” Vaughn said.

“The event takes thousands of hours of meticulous planning to put on a safe and exciting ride and the work never stops.  We have already been prepping for the 2017 ride since earlier this spring,” she said.

“We are also always looking for ways to improve the ride by soliciting feedback and for ways that we can attract more participants.  We should be able to do this with some really exciting stuff in the works for 2017,” she added.

To learn and read more about the FedEx Rock-n-Roll MS-150 bike ride, you can visit
https://www.facebook.com/rocknrollbikems/.  For social media, be sure to use the hashtags of #bikeMS and #DontJustRide.

For any additional information or questions about this ride, you can contact
Kelsey Vaughn by calling 615-690-5349 or emailing her at:
Kelsey.vaughn@nmss.org.

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