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The Fight to End Multiple Sclerosis
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Did you know that Canada has the highest rate of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the World. 100,000 Canadians live with MS and hundreds of thousands more are affected as the family, friends and communities support of those diagnosed. MS is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada and women are more than 3 times as likely to develop MS as men.

MS involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body's immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The exact antigen — or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack — remains unknown, which is why MS is considered by many experts to be "immune-mediated" rather than "autoimmune."

Canada remains at the forefront of MS research around the world. Through generous contributions from donors, corporate sponsors, and fervent fundraisers, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has invested over $140 million dollars in research since its inception in 1948.

The MS Bike Fundraising Campaign

Since 1989, cyclists of all ages and fitness levels have joined together for the MS Bike - now the largest cycling series in North America.

This pledge-based fundraising event provides Canadians with the opportunity to ride through scenic and often spectacular parts of the country while raising money to help end MS. Annually, over 10,000 cyclists participate in one - or two-day tours taking place between June and September.

A profile on a London MS Bike participant...Barry Travnicek

In 1989, Barry's first response to his sister's diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was, "what is it," his second, "how do we fix it." Barry felt a wave of uncertainty, followed by a passion to do everything in his power to fight for his sister, "I knew it would be a long battle, but one I would fight until the end," Barry says. "The summer after my sister's diagnosis, my mother in law saw an ad in the paper about the upcoming MS Bike - Grand Bend to London tour and I thought to myself, this is something I can do - I'm not a scientist or a doctor, but I can raise money to find a cure," Barry continues. "I signed up for the inaugural MS Bike - Grand Bend to London in 1991 and have been cycling ever since!" His dedication to the cause and participation in the tour is unwavering, "I cycle every year because, that is how were going to fix this thing, not only for my sister but for the 100,000 Canadians affected by MS." Over the past 24 years, he has raised over $450,000 through various fundraising initiatives - the most successful being a 50/50 draw which takes place each Friday of every week at a local pub. "We are now averaging an excess of $1000 a week from the draw, last year alone we raised $61,000 and we are on pace to beat that again this year," he says. "There are a lot of issues we throw money at that don't go away, but I firmly believe that we will find a cure for MS and I believe it will be in our lifetime."

Barry explains that the highlight of his first two years cycling in MS Bike - Grand Bend to London was just crossing the finish line and knowing that he had done something that only few had accomplished in Western Ontario, "There were not a lot of people at that time who could say they cycled 150km to end MS!" Barry is the top fundraiser in Ontario and second overall in Canada.

"When you finish up the first day of the tour, have dinner with fellow participants and watch the awards ceremony, you can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of inspiration and pride," Barry says. "Knowing that as a group we have come that much closer to ending Canada's disease is reward in itself. I will participate until we find a cure; there is no question about it."

Last month's MS Bike - Grand Bend to London is the largest MS Bike tour in Canada - 1700 cyclists took part.

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The work of MS Society of Canada funded researchers - is supported by donors, event participants, corporate sponsors, volunteers and staff from coast-to-coast. You can be part of this dynamic group of Canadians by getting involved in the fight to end MS.

Visit: beta.mssociety.ca
Call toll free: 1‑800‑268‑7582
Email: info.ontario@mssociety.ca