Why I’m gearing up in 2019
Multiple Sclerosis has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My Grandma Kinney was diagnosed with MS before I was born, and lived with the illness for over 25 years before it took her life. Seeing the way the illness impacted not only her life but our whole family's lives was heartbreaking. I wish more than anything that a cure for MS came a century earlier and my Grandma could have been able to live her life to the fullest, and watch all of our lives evolve as we grow up!
My friend Tina Kaizer has been living with MS for over 20 years herself. She is in amazing shape, exercising every day and participating in the MS Bike again this year (60km in the hot summer heat). We participated the last three years together and I can vividly remember people's reactions when Tina was telling people she has had MS for over 20 years, as she is biking along the Fraser Valley in 35 degree weather like a champ with a smile on her face. Tina is by far one of the strongest and most inspiring women I have ever known.
These are the biggest ways that MS has affected my life. But what I haven't mentioned so far is the dozens of other people I know that are also living with MS, and the countless other lives that have been taken by the illness. Today, I don't think there are many people that can say they don't know anyone with MS or it hasn't affected their life in some way.
I am biking on July 13th in memory of all of those whose lives have been taken by this unpredictable illness; in support of the people living with the illness today; and in hopes of finding a cure someday. As no one knows what causes MS and there is no cure, I can honestly say the illness in its entirety terrifies and confuses me. Every single day 3 more Canadians are diagnosed with MS, and in each case it will affect their life in completely different way - the way the illness affects your vision, balance, memory, and mobility is unique in every case. It's unpredictable.
Because MS is so unpredictable, it can often leave you feeling helpless - like there is nothing you can do to help. Four years ago I decided to gear up and take part in the MS Bike for the first time, and our team had an AMAZING time biking through the countryside in Langley, laughing with each other and drinking wine (whoever decided to include wine in this event was a genius). My fundraising efforts that first year began by simply asking for donations, but it did not seem to be adding up to much, and I was hoping to raise a substantial amount! So I decided to do a bottle drive and gather bottles from my family and friends in Whistler and Pemberton. I managed to raise a total of $1,005 when it came time to Race Day. My goal had been $1,000 so I was over the moon!
In 2016, I did another bottle drive and also organized and ran another fundraiser called Baskets Bevys + Blooms, which I held in the Downtown Barn in Pemberton. I had SO much fun putting the event together - it has become an annual event & undoubtedly a highlight of my year.
Over the past four years I have raised over $15,000 for MS research, and I ain't done yet!
This year my personal goal is $7,500. I will be hosting Baskets Bevys + Blooms again in Pemberton on Saturday June 15th, and doing another bottle drive throughout Whistler and Pemberton. Reaching this goal will not be possible without the support of my community, family, and friends! Any donation is so greatly appreciated and shows your support for this cause!