Multiple sclerosis research aided by Oklahoma riders

BY SUSAN SIMPSON Published: September 28, 2009
About 800 bicyclists made the 135-mile Bike MS ending Sunday at the state Capitol, an event that aimed to raise awareness and funding for multiple sclerosis.

"They are riding with a purpose and that is to find a cure,” said Ray Mack of Norman.

He led organization of this year’s event, which benefits the Oklahoma chapter of the National MS Society.

Riders expected to raise more than $500,000 from the ride, which this year was routed along historic Route 66 from Tulsa to Oklahoma City.

The two-day event featured sunny skies but also headwinds that made the ride even more challenging, said rider Chris Barnes of Tulsa.

"It’s more than a bike ride,” he said. "It’s an event to raise money and awareness.”

As riders crossed the finish line south of the Capitol, they were cheered by families lining the street and parking lot.

The Putnam City North orchestra played music and volunteers served barbecue.

Rider Kevin O’Sullivan said he rides for the athletic challenge but also to help those with MS.

He said he’s inspired by people like Amanda Meyer, a college freshman who spoke to riders Saturday night when they stopped in Chandler.

He said relapses sometimes force Meyer into a wheelchair, but research into MS may someday find a cure for her debilitating illness.

Packy Evans, chairman of the MS chapter’s board, said doctors are closer to finding the causes of MS and events like Bike MS raise awareness of their work.

Evans’ wife has MS.

"I do this for her and everyone else with MS,” said the Oklahoma City man.