Each year, more than 1,000 riders from all over the state, and some from other parts of the country, travel to Arizona to put their feet to the pedals and raise money for multiple sclerosis.
For some riders, the event April 14-15 is more personal and hits a little closer to home. Ahwatukee Foothills resident Scott Garber is doing it for his wife, Kara, who was diagnosed with MS in February 2009.
“I think the worst thing for a spouse or mother or daughter, is the helplessness — there’s nothing you can do about it,” Garber, a financial planner, said. “Long story short, she’s fighting the good fight and she’s kicking butt.”
This year’s event, called Bike MS-Ride the Vortex takes place in the hills around Sedona in the Verde Valley. Riders have options when they ride, they can do a 45-, 65-, or 100-mile route the first day and a 30-, or 50-mile route the second.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society describes MS as an autoimmune disease that “ interrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body and stops people from moving... (it is an) often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.”
Garber describes his wife as a “trooper,” but he knows that it can be frustrating at times.
“She’s tougher than (Arnold) Schwarzenegger in any of his movies,” he said. “But there are days when she’s down for the count. And a lot of it is psychological because sometimes she can’t do the things she used to do.”
This year the team, called Kara’s Crew, has thus far raised more than $3,500. In total, more than $300,000 has been pledged to the event, which goes directly to National Multiple Sclerosis Society for research.
Garber has been training in and around Ahwatukee Foothills. The difficulty will come from the uphill riding in Sedona, he said, but he has pushed himself the last couple of weeks and will be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.
To find out more, or to donate, visit www.bikeMSarizona.org.
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