A few years ago, Lori Plumley’s family and friends lovingly appointed themselves the nickname of Lori’s “Legs,” in support of Lori.
“My sister was the one who came up with the nickname a few years ago,” says Plumley, a stay-at-home mom. “She said that it was a reminder that I never had to worry, that as long as I was the ‘Lori,’ they would be my ‘Legs’.”
When Plumley and her family decided to participate in Bike MS, their team name came to them easily. Plumley and her team of 20 relatives and friends, named “Legs for Lori,” have raised more than $8,000 for Bike MS in the four years that they have been riding, and they are not stopping any time soon. Team “Legs for Lori,” hopes to raise another $2,000 this year alone when they ride in the Bike MS: Red Thread Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities, on June 3 in Windsor.
This team name also serves as a comfort in and of itself for Plumley, who, despite her MS, cycles the two-mile course with her daughter.
Lori Plumley poses with her son Parker, 13, at last year's Bike MS ride in Windsor. Team Legs for Lori will return to Griffin Center in Windsor on June 3 to ride in the 2012 Bike MS: Red Thread+Steelcase Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities. For more information or to register for Bike MS, please visit ctfightsMS.org.
Plumley’s family has always been her greatest source of strength and support. Her husband Sam and two children are always by her side at the Bike MS events. Last year her son Parker, 13, braved the twenty-five mile route on his one-speed BMX bicycle to demonstrate his love for his mom.
“My children always try to be my little protectors,” gushes Plumley. “My daughter, Bailee, 10, wouldn’t even leave my side when she was younger because she wanted to watch over me.”
Even now, Bailee, feels the desire help her mom in any way that she can. This year, she is taking the reins with her own fundraising projects by asking for donations from friends at the studio where she takes gymnastics lessons.
“My children are the reason that I get out of bed on the mornings when I feel like I can’t,” Plumley goes on to say. “In our family, we just keep moving one day at a time.”
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Lori Plumley, are affected by multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease affecting the central nervous system. The cause is unknown and, as a result, there is currently no cure for MS. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, loss of mobility and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.
When Plumley first began experiencing symptoms, her doctors had no idea where they stemmed from. After a slew of tests and appointments, her physician formally diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis when she was 37.
“I was in big time denial,” admits Plumley. “I felt like MS was something that you heard about on television, not the type of thing that ever happens to you.”
During this difficult time, Plumley and her family researched multiple sclerosis extensively and contacted the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, where her sister first learned about Bike MS.
“I immediately thought the worst,” Plumley admits. “I was really scared. I didn’t know what would happen. I just kept thinking about my two young kids and wondering how I would be able to take care of them.”
Four years later, after a long struggle with finding the right medication to control her symptoms, Plumley is proud to say that she is feeling much better about the prospect of her future.
“It was a rough road there for a while,” she acknowledges. “But I have a great family who helps and supports me unconditionally. I just choose to take life one day at a time. I’m ok, and I know that everything will be fine.”
When asked if she had any advice for those individuals out there who have recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Plumley simply stresses how important it is, for yourself and for your family, to get involved with fundraising and events to raise awareness for MS.
“Just seeing all the people that come and help out at the events is so inspiring,” Plumley states. “It’s just plain fun to get everyone together under a common goal. It’s very touching to see how many people want to get together to participate and raise money to try to find the cure.”
Although seeing the thousands of people come out each year for events like Bike MS and Walk MS excites Plumey, at the end of the day, it is her family who keeps her going.
“It makes me very proud to see my husband and children participating in all of the events,” She says. “It just means so much to me.”
For Plumley, no matter if she is having a good day or a bad one; she will always have her “Legs” to help her to keep marching forward.
The 2012 Bike MS: Red Thread Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities, will be held on June 3 in Windsor and Westport. For the past 30 years the ride has seen more than 28,000 cyclists pedal to raise over $6,500,000.
To register or donate to “Legs for Lori”, please visit ctfightsMS.org