Multiple Sclerosis (commonly known as MS) is a disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks brain tissue called myelin, and strips it from nerves in the body. This can have a number of effects on a person’s ability to feel or make various movements, but each individual diagnosed with MS experiences the symptoms differently. Because the lack of myelin surrounding the nerve causes information from the brain to the body to be hindered, a person may experience a range of symptoms, from numbness and fatigue to less common symptoms such as seizures.
Throughout the world over 2 million people have been diagnosed with MS and the MS150 bicycle ride from Houston to Austin strives to shine a spotlight on the disease and raise money for research. This disease hits close to home for Emergent, so every year we sponsor a fundraising team and participate in the 2-day, 150-mile long ride. Due to extreme weather, this year’s ride was cut down to only one day and our team was unable to camp at Dog Trot Farm, a beautiful venue and halfway point between the two cities, donated for our use each year by the generosity of the Beuscher and Radcliffe families. Even in the face of chaotic logistics and crazy rain, our team was able to pull together a great group of riders for a 60-mile ride from La Grange to Austin. At the finish line in Austin the weather cleared up and gave way to a gorgeous Sunday ride, and our team was able to enjoy a fun day together to celebrate dollars raised for research – over $16,500 was raised this year!
Since the National MS Society was founded in 1946, it has invested over $870 million in innovative research programs working towards the prevention, detection, and eradication of the disease. An example of such research includes the use of immunology to define how and when cells become attacked by the immune system. On April 20th, the National MS Society announced an award honoring Dr. Alastair Compston for his advancements in bringing a therapeutic method for catching and staving off the attack earlier. Dr. Compston has also worked to understand how the role of genetics play into the disease and its development. As of April 6, the National MS Society has allotted $28m towards 84 new research projects on MS, including programs that dive into the effect of vitamin D, diet, genetics, and immunology.
Media around this year’s ride:
Every year, the National MS Society puts on fund raising events such as MS 150 bike rides, walks and “muck fests” to raise awareness and dollars for MS research. We have participated in these efforts through our “Team Emergent” sponsorship of the MS 150 ride since 2007. While bad weather may have produced some major logistical challenges and a little disappointment this year, we finished on a high note knowing that our efforts and the collective power of all those participating in the MS 150 and other such events, will one day create a world free of MS.