I Have MS: That's Why I Ride

Amy  Fraser

By Amy Fraser

The PwC MS Bike – Grand Bend to London is an inspiring event that brings people with varying degrees of experience with MS together. Stephen Anderson, co-captain of Team Anderson Craft Ales, is a shining example of someone fighting for his own health through exercise and the positive community created by the event.
Anderson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005. In 2012, he decided to uptake his exercise as a way to combat some of his symptoms, which is when he found the PWC MS Bike.
“I said to my buddies who ride that I thought I could do the MS Bike tour that year, and they weren’t sure because I hadn’t ridden a bike in 25 years,” says Anderson. “After that I was like, that’s it, I’ve got to do this.”
“I signed myself up and that first year I was so impressed that I finished the ride because I thought it might kill me, but it really wasn’t that bad because I rode a lot that year and was in really good shape.”
While joining the PwC MS Bike was for the purpose of exercise, it became a very emotional experience for Anderson.
“Even from my first year when I rode by myself, and because I have a jersey that says I ride because I have MS, people would ride with me and tell me their life story and I thought that it was kind of inspirational,” says Anderson.
Barb Riddell joined Anderson’s team after his first few rides and really caught the fundraising bug. Recently, she recruited Anderson Craft Ales, a London-based craft brewery, as a team partner. As the brewery’s representative, Aynsley Anderson lent her support and joined the team this year.
“Anderson’s is really proactive with this,” says Anderson. “I didn’t expect all this to happen this year with all these people and donations.”
“Every time I get an email saying that somebody else joined the team I’m just amazed. There are so many people on the team, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
While Anderson previously did his own individual fundraising before the team took shape, he’s impressed with the direction that the team has taken with it this year.
“The way they’re fundraising this year by having things like a euchre tournament and trivia nights is a way better way about doing it because you don’t feel like you’re pestering anybody,” says Anderson.
With the PwC MS Bike creeping up the team is getting excited to get out and enjoy the ride.
“I’m looking forward to the camaraderie of the ride, but that’s what attracts me to it every year,” says Anderson. “This is such a fun, casual ride that is so well supported.”
While the event itself is a fun, social experience, watching the amount of fundraising that happens and knowing that it goes directly back into the research to find a cure for MS means a lot to people living with it.
“A cure would mean being about to play with the kids more, and getting to go out and run around with them instead of just watching them run around,” says Anderson. “I think anybody with MS who’s aware of the research that’s going on is sitting back with optimism.”
This year’s PwC MS Bike – Grand Bend to London kicks off on July 29 at 7:30 AM at the Grand Bend Motorplex.

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