BRISTOL, Conn. – For Ray Carcano, cycling is more than a fitness activity to enjoy with members of his local bicycle club. It has become a way to raise funds for scientific research and provide for the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, to people in Connecticut affected by multiple sclerosis.
Like many people who participate in the ride, Carcano has a connection to someone who has been affected by MS.
“I know six people personally who have been diagnosed with MS,” said Carcano, a native of Torrington, Carcano, 57, now lives in Bristol and works as a network engineer at Connecticut Education Network.
One of his friends has battled multiple sclerosis for nearly 25 years and is no longer able to work. Carcano also noted that another friend’s sister was recently diagnosed with MS at age 50.
“I started riding in Bike MS because I wanted to help people who can’t help themselves right now,” Carcano said. “By helping support the research and programs, hopefully this will make a difference and improve the quality of their lives.”
Carcano’s commitment to raising funds for MS has not gone unnoticed. He noted that a number of people, who became aware of his efforts through his Facebook posts, have supported him by making donations to Ray’s Riders. At last years, MS Bike Cardio Express Ride, he and his team raised more than $1,300.
An avid cyclist for more than four years, Carcano and his fundraising team, known as Ray’s Riders, will participate for a second consecutive year in the Bike MS Cardio Express Ride, on Sept. 13. The ride, presented by Cashman + Katz Integrated Communications of Glastonbury, starts at Riverside Park in Hartford. Cyclists will ride 25, 50 or 75 miles into the Connecticut countryside before returning to Hartford. This city to country ride is unique because it is the only bike ride in Connecticut with a route that crosses three bridges: the Founders, Charter Oak and Arrigoni.
Carcano rides with a club organized by Healthy Gears, a Bristol-based company dedicated to improving the health of its participants. Ray’s Riders, a team that Carcano formed last year to participate in the Bike MS Cardio Express Ride, will ride the 50 mile route again this year.
“It’s a challenging route, but we formed a team for Bike MS because we want to experience a great ride and help the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter fund research, advocate change and help people with MS,” he said. “We believe in this cause.”
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents are affected by multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease affecting the central nervous system. The cause is unknown and 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.
The 2014 event marks the sixth anniversary of the Bike MS: Cardio Express Ride. In the Connecticut Chapter’s fall bike tour history, more than 2,000 cyclists have pedaled over 200,000 miles to raise more than $1 million to support local chapter programs and services as well as scientific research to find a cure for multiple sclerosis.
For more information or to register for the Bike MS: Cardio Express Ride, please visit ctfightsMS.org.