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My friend and teammate Derek Chalmers is featured in this MS Awareness video.  He speaks plainly, and yet eloquently, about the realities of a life partnered with MS.  I thank Derek for giving MS a face and a voice, for being vulnerable and open about some of his challenges, for the courage to share a part of his life-story in a very public way.  I firmly believe that sharing our stories is the key to raising awareness, which is the key to raising funds, which is the key to finding a cure for multiple sclerosis.  Derek’s commitment to effecting change for all of us whose lives are affected by MS inspires me immensely.

Derek is a member of Team Chain Gang, a group of bicyclists and tricyclists who let me ride along with them as an honorary member when I travelled to Ventura, California for the 2012 Bike MS Coastal Challenge.  That experience was a dream come true for me, a Life List entry checked-off with great No Opportunity Wasted fanfare.  His groovy wife Noelle, our friend and teammate Glenn (who takes phenomenal photos & footage of the team’s rides) and a few others from Team Chain Gang are traveling this-a-way – which is to say, Texas-way – to ride the 2013 BP MS 150 in April.

This time around I’ll be an official member of the team, which makes me very happy.  And very proud.  Team Chain Gang does so much to raise funds and awareness for the National MS Society.  I’m incredibly grateful for all of their efforts and honored to be welcomed as part of their team-community.

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Team Chain Gang is an extended family of able-boded and differently-abled bodies all working together, devoting time and energy – hours & hours and miles & miles of pedaling! – with the goal of eradicating MS.  In order to realize that goal, our dream, Team Chain Gang needs your support!

And, yes, it’s (unavoidably) true: what we mean when we say we need your support is, we need your cash 🙂

We don’t like asking people for money any more than you like being asked, trust us.  But we can’t help the fact that research must be funded, and we’re unswervingly committed in our mission to cure MS.  We do understand if some of you can’t donate very much, and we understand when some of you are unable to donate at all.  Please, give whatever you can.  And keep in mind that giving a little bit of your time and energy is equally valuable to us and to the cause.  Take a sec to post this blog entry about Team Chain Gang & Derek on your Facebook page; send it in emails to your friends & family; Tweet the link – http://bit.ly/Y98swl  Add a personal, heartfelt request that others pass it on, too.  Having our stories heard makes a difference, because stories are remembered.  Stories inspire; stories move people to action; action creates change.

I can’t help but be moved when Derek says “Your support has the power to restore what I’ve lost.”  So I’m asking you, please, exercise your power!

Here’s a link to Team Chain Gang’s BP MS 150 fundraising page, where you can make a general donation to the team’s effort.

You can donate to Derek’s ride here.

You can donate to my ride here.   All of the donations go to the same place, of course. The only difference is that when you choose a particular rider to support, you’re acknowledging and celebrating that individual’s dedication to the fight against MS.

Feeling really inspired?  Then come ride along with us in the BP MS 150 or the Bike MS Coastal Challenge.  If Texas or California are a little out of the way for you, I bet one of these other Bike MS rides will be near you.  Bike MS is the kind of journey that changes your life as well as the lives of countless others.  Or, in other words, Bike MS is a cycling adventure you give yourself, that keeps giving and giving and giving, and all of that giving-action transforms into the fuel needed to fund/find a cure for MS.

Thanks for listening to our stories.  Thanks for championing our efforts and cheering us on.  Every dollar, every Woohoo! gets us that much closer to bodies and lives restored, to a world free of MS.

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