How quickly a year passes. I had a shock today when I realized that the 2011 edition of the Rona MS Bike Tour is only 6 weeks away. This is the second year that Team Jenny is participating in this event and after making a colourful splash on to the scene last year we are gearing up to do it all over again.
I wanted to create a theme for this year’s bike ride, one that could best explain what this ride was about. Last year’s theme was definitely one of passion and inspiration. My wife Jennifer (the Jenny for which our team is named) had been living with MS for only one year. The shock and sadness of her diagnosis was still very fresh to us, our friends, and our families. When we decided to put together a team to ride in the MS bike tour we were amazed by the overwhelming response. It seemed like the event gave our loved ones the perfect opportunity to show their support. Many volunteered to ride for Team Jenny and many more donated money to the cause. Everyone displayed such passion and inspiration. After setting a goal of raising $1,000 we ended up raising a whopping $6,700!!!
As I was thinking about theme ideas in my head one word kept popping up, perseverance. I soon realized why it kept coming back to me, perseverance is relevant to Team Jenny on many different levels.
Living with MS requires a great deal of perseverance on behalf of the sufferer, and also on behalf of their loved ones. The symptoms can be both persistent and unpredictable and at times quite debilitating. Treatment involves a regular schedule of painful injections. Doctor visits are frequent. Social situations can be very uncomfortable. To survive and thrive as a human being in the midst of all this requires perseverance. As I write this it is the second anniversary of Jenny’s diagnosis. Instead of tears we’re celebrating with a cheers. We’re sitting on our deck sipping a nice wine and reflecting on two years of persevering together.
To ride 180 km over two days also requires perseverance, particularly if you are an amateur cyclist like myself. There were many stretches during last year’s tour where I just wanted to give up. I was just too tired, my body hurt too much. I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt that way. But we persevered through our miseries and plan to do so again this year. We draw inspiration from the perseverance of MS sufferers.
Finally, raising awareness and more importantly money for research is an act of perseverance. It is natural that the passion and inspiration we saw during the first year of the tour would dull a little bit this year. This makes it harder to raise funds. Thankfully we have a few new riders who will reinvigorate some of that lost passion but we will face fundraising challenges nonetheless. Compounding our difficulties is the ongoing controversy regarding the Zamboni treatment and the MS Society’s stance on this issue. Many people are refusing to donate to the MS Society as a result. With less money being raised, less money is going to vital research that is improving the lives of so many people, my dear wife included. Overcoming these challenges will require Team Jenny to be creative in its fundraising efforts and more importantly it will require us to show remarkable perseverance.
This blog will serve as a means to discuss our efforts and hopefully raise a little awareness and money for our cause. Over the coming weeks you will get to learn a little more about our riders, find out what a day in the life of an MS sufferer looks like, see how the spouse of an MS sufferer copes with the various challenges of the disease, and learn how one trains to bicycle such a long distance. We may even throw in a few surprises.
Thank you for reading this. Please send a link to our blog to anyone you think might be interested in our story. Also please check out the official Team Jenny website and find out how you can support us.
MS doesn’t stop. Neither will we.
Team Jenny co-captain.