The Pipestone Flyer
Leduc & Camrose – It was promoted very well, featured in all the national and local media, it raises much needed funds every year for a great cause, it will celebrate a 25 year milestone in 2014 and it touches the heart of Canadians coast-to-coast… On Saturday June 8 the Leduc-Camrose ‘leg’ of the JOHNSON MS BIKE TOUR left Ritchie Brothers in Nisku at 8am to reach the Camrose Exhibition Grounds that day, and to return to its start location at 3:30pm on Sunday.
A Leduc County native and resident invested her heart and energy into this fundraising venture. Tracy Myrglod, née Kuhn, a Grey Nuns Hospital social worker, completed the MS Bike Tour for the second year. Her teammate and close friend Cindy Knoppers, a nurse who is currently residing in Victoria BC (but moving back to Leduc soon) is afflicted with MS, and a group of friends rode in the Tour last year to show their support and raise funds for MS research and support groups. They had a very positive experience, and with Tracy’s recent discovery of the early onset of MS, they decided to repeat the challenge. Tracy and Cindy, together with Cassidy Tutschek, (City of Leduc resident), Julie Kelly (a Leduc Community Hospital nurse), Shannon Connors and Tara Houston (two Edmonton friends) and four others, raised $15,000 for The Cause, and completed the ride in challenging weather.
An interesting and proud fact is that the Leduc-Camrose MS Bike Tour raised one of the highest totals of funds among the 27 MS Bike tours in Canada: Alberta is a caring and dynamic province! Tracy shared that “it was hard, especially for the riders who have this medical challenge but we managed to complete the tour, with our loved ones’ support and riding for our friends.”
The riders traveled eight hours in a sunny warm weather on the first day, and the next day in driving winds and occasional rain: thankfully, there were checkpoints at every 15 Km, offering water, energy drinks, power bars and fruit. Vehicles would escort the riders, and offer assistance when needed. Saturday night, the Camrose Exhibition hosted a grand banquet, where inspiring testimonies were shared and hopeful breakthroughs were discussed. Tracy commented that “it was uplifting to hear of others’ journey with MS and to hear that we are not alone in this: many people work very hard all year round to find a cure and develop support strategies for people with MS and their loved ones and caregivers”.
Tracy herself is grateful for her family and friends’ support. Her fiancé Jason Vansickle of Leduc and her mom were there to greet her at the finish line, and it helped ease the pain of this gruelling ride that took a lot of energy and determination to complete!
“Gearing up to end MS”, the Johnson MS Bike Tour is a two-day, 190km bike ride through the Alberta prairies from Leduc to Camrose and back. In 2012, the event raised over $1.9 million to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis.
“To find a cure to MS and enhancing quality of life”, 1,900 cyclists and 500 devoted volunteers successfully planned and completed the largest MS Bike Tour in the country, the Leduc-Camrose ride. The fundraising continues all year round, with walks and other events planned.
As shared by the Yves Savoie, MS Society of Canada’s President and CEO: “Multiple Sclerosis affects each person differently, so it is important to have access to as many treatment options as possible. Recently, a new first-line oral therapy for people with relapsing-remitting MS has been approved by Health Canada. People with
relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis who choose to manage their MS with disease-modifying therapies now have more options that can potentially reduce the frequency and severity of their relapses.
In Canada, there are eight disease-modifying therapies for people with relapsing-remitting MS, whereas people living with progressive forms of MS currently do not have treatment options to manage their disease. There is an urgent need to find treatments for people with MS who face the potential progression of their disease. Financial contributions can be offered through the MS Society’s website: www.mssociety.ca. Also, you can stay engaged with the MS Society’s work to end MS by joining it on Facebook. They’ll provide you with the latest in research updates, MS news, and answer questions. You can follow the society on Twitter, its “hash-tag” is @MSSocietyCanada to receive the most up-to-date information about multiple sclerosis, and YouTube offers videos discussing multiple sclerosis.
Here in our region, we must thank the MS Bike Tour CHAMPIONS who trained for months, donned helmets and riding gear to put aside weekend duties and fun activities and dynamically contributed to this critical fundraiser. So to the “No MSing Around Team” of Tracy Myrglod, Cindy Knoppers and their close friends, we must say CONGRATS and… WAY TO GO, LADIES !