Cyclists Ride to Raise Awareness of Multiple Sclerosis on May 31-June 1

Nearly 600 cyclists from across the state will head to Easton on May 31 and June 1 for Bike MS: Chesapeake Challenge, the National MS Society, Maryland Chapter’s premier bike event. The 33rd annual ride is expected to raise more than $500,000 to support MS research and programs for the 10,000 Marylanders who live with multiple sclerosis.

The Bike MS: Chesapeake Challenge begins at Talbot Community Center and takes participants on a tour of scenic waterfront communities like Tilghman Island, Oxford, St. Michaels and Trappe. A variety of route options – ranging from 34-100 miles on Saturday, and 30-50 mile routes on Sunday – make Chesapeake Challenge accessible to riders of all abilities. Participants are required to raise a minimum of $300, but most raise significantly more.

The Chesapeake Challenge attracts riders from across the state that are all connected by their commitment to fighting MS. Each rider has a story about how multiple sclerosis has touched his or her life.

· Dawn Hammond, resident of Hagerstown and vice president of Wells Fargo Columbia, is the captain of the Wells Fargo Bike MS team, one of the largest teams at the Chesapeake Challenge. Wells Fargo is a regular supporter of the Chesapeake Challenge and has contributed more than $500,000 in the past 15 years.

· Esther Collinetti and Jim Givens, a husband-and-wife biking team from South Baltimore, got involved with Bike MS after Jim’s father was diagnosed 11 years ago. Together, they have ridden more than 3,000 miles to support the MS Society and they actively engage the community in Bike MS through their cycling studio, REV.

· Jeremy Conn, co-host of the popular Scott Garceau sports show on 105.7 The Fan, has become passionate about supporting efforts to end MS since his wife, Katie, was diagnosed with MS six months ago. At the Chesapeake Challenge, Jeremy will cheer Katie on as she bikes her first 50 miles for MS awareness. The couple has raised 500% of their goal, with over $5,900 in donations to date.

· Jill Eisenberg of Reisterstown was looking for a physical challenge 10 years ago and some friends talked her in to riding the Chesapeake Challenge. She hasn’t missed a race since and has raised more than $20,000 for MS in the past decade.

· Newlyweds Jennifer and Jenifer, from Annapolis, were married May 10, 2014 and decided to ask friends and family to donate to Bike MS in lieu of wedding gifts. Jennifer’s father suffered from MS from the time she was born and she herself was diagnosed with MS at age 23. They have raised more than $3000 and will ride the maximum distance – 150 miles – at the Chesapeake Challenge.

Multiple sclerosis is the #1 disabling disease of young adults, striking more than 10,000 Marylanders. Thanks in part to funding raised by events like the Chesapeake Challenge, more than 10 disease-modifying drugs are now available to mitigate the symptoms of MS, which can include vision problems, weakness, numbness and fatigue.

For more information about Bike MS: Chesapeake Challenge, visit www.bikemsmaryland.org.

About Multiple Sclerosis: Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people 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. It is the #1 disabling neurological disease in young to middle-aged adults.

About the National MS Society: MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. We help each person address the challenges of living with MS. Since its founding in 1946, the Society has allocated more than $761 million to MS research projects around the world. We are people who want to do something about MS NOW. Join the Movement®.

Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional and contacting the National MS Society at www.nationalMSsociety.org or 1-800-FIGHT-MS (344-4867).