Pedaling Away For Multiple Sclerosis

One of the many benefits that working at Hopkins provides is having the opportunity to participate in a variety of volunteer events. You can help raise money, awareness and hope for some excellent causes. Need a sample of what’s available? There’s the upcoming “Ride To Conquer Cancer ”, there’s walking for pancreatic cancer research, and Hopkins is also the medical sponsor for the “In it to End It” Avon Walk. These are all great family AND kid-friendly events.  AND, if you or your little ones don’t know whether to walk or run ---- Kilometers For Kids gives you the option for both. Ok---you say you’d love to get involved but need something in cooler weather, the Greater Baltimore Heart Walk is in October, so there’s plenty of time to join Team Johns Hopkins.

Spurred on my Welch co-workers (who’re always ready to make a donation!), I did the 2014 MS Challenge bike ride in Easton, Maryland. My co-workers know I’ve done this ride before and now, like clockwork, they start getting excited even before I do. This year I did the 100 mile Century Ride. Metric Centurys (62 miles) are nice, but doing a Century gives you bragging rights. The Bike MS Experience for me looks a lot like this Video, except I don’t do really fancy duds or ride a really fancy bike. But who needs all that when you’ve got a cadre of enthusiastic supporters cheering you on at every rest stop, and a community of riders out there pedaling away on a glorious spring day. But you don’t have to ride a bike or do a walk to help out at Johns Hopkins. Hopkins Hospital is always looking for volunteers! 

I’ve done this ride for 6 years and I can’t believe people give the riders credit. Let me explain our dirty little riding secret: All we have to do is ride a bike. BAM! That’s it. We don’t have to find any cures, we don’t have to do the hard behind-the-scenes medical work, and we sure don’t have to do ANY of the fantastic research that all the various doctors and health care pros are doing for MS at Hopkins or at the National MS Society or around the world. What do I have to do? Ride a bike.

And, as you may or may not know, it’s not just bike riding, you can get involved in a variety of ways. Their muckfest looks AWFULLY inviting. The National MS Society makes it easy to get involved. Enter your zipcode and away you go. If you need a little inspiration, you can always listen to a story or two that could be just the thing to jumpstart the process. It usually doesn’t take too much, it didn’t for me.

But again, bikers don’t have to do the nitty-gritty, we get to go have fun.  Just for participating you get a medal, a t-shirt or both. It’s safe to say that most people struggling with MS probably won’t have anywhere near as much fun or glory. I try and remember that thought when I’m up near mile 70 or 80 --- and maybe I’m a bit tired or thinking about getting to the finish.  

At the end, we all feel great no matter how many miles we did---we all get to have a great day. That’s me (above).

If you happen to get the volunteer “bug” or perhaps you know someone who’s not affliated with Hopkins but would like to volunteer, here’s how they can get started.  

 

Alonzo LaMont

alonzo@jhmi.edu


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