MS Bucket O'Change Campaign info at bottom...
Well... What can I say? I've fallen in love with riding a bike while helping to raise money and awareness for a great cause. Last year I rode the 3,875 mile Trans-Am Route with 16 other riders who became like family. This translated into the absolute best adventure of a lifetime! The 4,295 miles on the 2012 ride will lead me from Bar Harbor, Maine to Seattle. I expect the Northern Tier will be just as awe-inspiring as last year's ride. I can't wait!
For those of you who do not know me and are reading this just by chance, let me tell you a little about myself. I am a 35 year old Virginia native, currently living in Dallas, Texas. I am a Registered Nurse serving Veterans at the North Texas VA hospital in the ICU. I have always enjoyed traveling and seeing new places, but doing so on a bicycle amplifies the pleasure at least 100 fold.
You, too, can ride for the cause! Sign up today, even if you can only participate for a day or two. There are several different routes to choose from, and sectional riders are welcomed if you can not dedicate two months of your time getting the complete experience. Sign up!
Last year's experience involved more than just hopping on our bikes every morning and riding to the next destination. Although there is the obvious reward in riding a bike everyday and seeing beautiful scenery, we also had opportunities to help MS patients directly. This was not only a reminder of why our ride is so important, it put a face on the disease and its devastating effects on people who suffer from it. Throughout the trip we had 'Rest Days' periodically and the 16 strong and able riders provided in-house and yard makeovers for those affected directly by MS. Helping these people in such a direct way was hugely rewarding for me. I think it was important to have this experience in order to really put into context what this disease actually can do to people. One particular person we helped lived in a tri-level home with stairs everywhere you looked. She had difficulty walking so it was not uncommon for her to fall on occasion. I found it very eye-opening, however, to see that she was also responsible for caring for a bed-ridden loved one at the bottom of all of those stairs. All of the hard work that was done and all of the sweat dripping out of our pores was well worth the gratitude she expressed as she welled up with tears when we got ready to leave. She was most thankful and was definitely full of joy! I will never forget that moment. Although we could not change her day to day reality of living with MS, we did brighten that one day for her and made her life a little bit easier.
I would also like to mention all of the random acts of kindness from strangers we met along the way. Collectively, among the 16 riders. I would say easily over 100 kind people either cooked or bought us a meal, gave five or ten dollars to go into the donation pot, or just said thanks for doing what we were doing. It really opened my eyes to the generosity that still exists in this world. I just wish it didn't seem so hidden most of the time when we are out and about in our everyday lives.
I could not have made last year's journey without the support and great response from family, friends, and generous strangers who chose to make a contribution to my fund raising efforts. In fact, the support was so strong I had the privilege and honor of being named the top fund raiser on the first day of last year's ride. HUGE THANKS to everyone who was able to help out with that awesome accolade. As a result of everyone pitching in to help fight Multiple Sclerosis last year, Bike the US for MS made charitable contributions for research efforts and home modifications for some folks suffering with MS.
The following contributions were made in 2011
$75,000 - James Q. Miller Clinic, Charlottesville, Virginia;
$10,000 - Fairview MS Center, St. Paul, Minnesota;
$2,838 - MS Society Missouri;
$12,000 - Bathroom remodels in New Hampshire and Washington
And an early contribution for fiscal year 2012 has already been made
$5,000 - Swedish MS Center, Seattle, Washington
Now comes the time for my least favorite thing in the whole process, yet really the most important. Please, consider donating some money to this worthy cause. Please help fight MS and assist me with my fund raising goal for the 2012 ride. All donations of ANY amount are greatly appreciated as I strive to reach a personal fund raising goal of $7,000. Proceeds will primarily support research and treatment at the James Q. Miller MS Clinic in Charlottesville, Virginia and at other facilities across the United States, in addition to funding home modification projects for people who are living with MS. Bike the US for MS Inc. is a 501c3 tax exempt organization with tax ID #27-2192426. If you are able, I hope you will choose to support me and DONATE to this deserving cause. If you choose not to donate to this cause, please choose to donate to another cause you believe in to keep the good karma flowing. Last year I exceeded my fund raising goal, and I hope I will be able to repeat that again this year with everyone's help. It seems like a lot of money, but if everyone pitches in a little it will add up quickly.
MS Bucket O'Change Campaign
Spend cash? Have a loose change jar? Help me help you make a donation to Bike the US for MS in the MS Bucket O'Change Campaign! Here's how it works: You collect your loose change starting now until May 1st. You donate your collected change to a great cause. I match your total donation made to BTUSFMS. I will match all participants' combined totals for a maximum of $1000. If you want to participate let me know, I will send more info and a sticker to sport on your change jar. Participants will also be listed here:
1. Dustin Bond
If you would prefer to donate by US mail checks can be mailed to:
Bike the US for MS
PO BOX 10001
Blacksburg, VA 24063
Please make checks payable to "Bike the US for MS"