While the MS Walk is just over a week away, it’s not too early to get ready for the MS Bike.
As the Scotiabank MS Walk Victoria laces up for its 10th year event on Sunday, May 15, cyclists across the Island are gearing up for the two-day ride through the Cowichan Valley on July 23 and 24.
Susan Cunningham, branch manager of Scotiabank’s Shelbourne location, has participated in MS Bike ever since her brother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago.
“It hits close to home,” she said. “That was sort of my commitment to him, to ride my bike for two days in order to support him.
“It’s important to create awareness and get the community to support this by participating. That’s why we do it.”
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system and interferes with the brain’s signals to the body. Symptoms of MS include numbness, impairment of speech and muscular co-ordination, blurred vision and severe fatigue.
Canada has the highest rates of MS in the world, with 12,000 people diagnosed in B.C. Women are three times as likely to develop MS as men.
Money raised from both events will go toward MS research and support programs for people living with MS on Vancouver Island. Local programs include the MS Art Therapy Group, Newly Diagnosed Support Group, educational seminars and the equipment loan program.
MS Bike features 60-, 106- and 160-kilometre routes along the Island while the MS Walk has three-, six- and nine-kilometre routes on the Galloping Goose Trail. The bike has a fundraising goal of $400,000 while the walk has a goal of $145,000.