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About Stefanie Pratt
My name is Stefanie and this is the third summer I will be involved with Bike the US for MS. In 2014, I completed the TransAm. In 2015, I started in Seattle, ME on the Northern Tier with the original goal of going to Buffalo, NY. By the time the time I and the No.Tier team reached Buffalo, I wasn't ready to stop riding, so I extended my trip to Cleveland. During the time I was riding to Cleveland, the TransAm team asked for a route leader. I decided that I would do it, so I joined the TransAm team in Carbondale, IL and route led with them to San Francisco. This year I thought I would take some time off from the ride, however, I learned MS wasn't done with my family, so I am not done riding. I chose Bike the US for MS because of the opportunity to work with people who are diagnosed with MS and helping them fight their diagnosis. I began riding to raise money to find a cure for MS because initially my uncle was diagnosed with MS.
In 1979, I remember visiting my family at my grandparents farm. When it was announced that my uncle had arrived, I was super excited because that meant playmates (cousins), who were not my sisters, had arrived. When my uncle made his way into the house he was coughing and had a cane. The five steps to walk into the kitchen to the mud room must have seemed like Everest as he swayed contemplating the walk up the stairs. I asked him if he wanted help and he told me not to worry and go play. Sometime between this and my uncle's diagnosis I remember a snowy Christmas, sledding with my uncle, my dad, my cousin Kenny and my sister Karyn. My uncle sat in the foot of snow with more steadily falling pushing us down and my dad pulled us back up.
In 1981, on our way out to my grandparents, my mother announced that she needed to talk to us. She told us (my sisters and I) that my uncle had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She said the doctors didn't know why he was sick or what would happend to him. I asked if it was cancer and would Uncle Larry die.
In 1983, another visit to my grandparents. It was super exciting because my other uncle and Texas playmates (cousins) came. The highlight of the weeks visit were the ramps all the grown-ups built to give my uncle greater access to the house. The real exciting part was watching the cement mix. By this point my uncle used crutches but sometimes used a wheelchair when he was tired. He had been fired from his job because there wasn't an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) to protect him, so he spent some of his days helping on my grandparents farm. Despite his disabiltity he was still able to operate a tractor.
In 1986, I stood in my living room pointing out to my friend the PSA on the TV saying, "that's what my uncle has" because none of my friends understood what I was talking about when I explained my uncle's illness. My understanding is that it was the first PSA about MS funded by the National MS Society.
In 1989, after marching band practice my family and I went to Samurai's sub shop to get dinner. As we waited for our order, I read an "earth shattering" headline in the USA today saying that a discovery had been made to understand what was happening to the nerves of people with MS. My mother asked what was so interesting and I explained that perhaps there is a cure for Uncle Larry on the horizon.
In 1994, I was a freshman in college, my uncle was know using a wheelchair when he wasn't driving his car (he had been using hand controls for driving his car for around 10 years) or on his riding lawn mower. He had begun to lose function in his right arm. I received a phone call during my second semester, that my uncle, his wife and three of his children were in a house fire. My uncle was the only one who didn't get out.
It would seem that the story should end here, but it doesn't. Recently, I found out that one my cousins, one of the survivors of the fire, has been diagnosed with MS. MS isn't giving my family a break, so I cannot rest from riding. Other than riding in memory of family or for other family, I ride to keep this disease from attacking other families. I am willing to beat up my body to prevent other families from knowing this kind of grief and hopefully for a cure. Thanks for reading and any gift you could give in this effort is greatly appreciated.
Stefanie Pratt's Fundraising
|Warren & Christine Pratt||$100.00|