As a new SaddleBrooke resident in 2014, I met several neighbors who had multiple sclerosis (MS) and wondered how many people with this disease live here. It seems most everyone knows someone in life’s circle who has MS or is affected by it in some way. Given that there are 1 million people in the U.S. diagnosed with MS, I knew there were more of us who are challenged by this difficult disease.
MS is a chronic, unpredictable, and often disabling disease of the central nervous system affecting the covering of the nerve fibers (myelin). This destruction disrupts function and the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from walking difficulties to extreme fatigue, blindness, or even paralysis—varying from person to person or intensity from day to day in the same person. You could experience none, one, or many symptoms on a day-to-day basis, often exacerbated by heat or extreme cold.
The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to a better understanding of the cause and moving us closer to stopping the disease, restoring function that’s been lost, and ultimately having a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.
I was diagnosed at the height of my healthcare career at the age of 35 with two small children. It changed my life and although I found a different means to make a living, it interfered in so many ways, but taught me many positive life lessons at the same time.
Myself as captain and a few members of the SaddleBrooke Cyclemasters have formed a team to ride in the MS Bike Ride on March 28-29. Routes vary from 15 miles to 101 miles in Fountain Hills, Arizona starting and ending at McDowell Mountain Park. Take a look at the specifics of the routes and ride options and join us.
“Bike MS® is more than a ride. It’s an extraordinary experience driven by camaraderie and marked by passion, inspiration, determination, and fun. In addition, you’ll find the support we provide to be nothing short of remarkable. From food and drink to fuel everyone’s journey to mechanical and medical assistance whenever needed, we’re all in it together. With volunteers cheering for you along the way, the atmosphere is truly electric.”
Join or contribute to our team, “Deanna’s team Pure Potential”, at the NMSS website https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Chapters/AZA/Donate. Or volunteer to be part of the fun.