Westport 2014 Praxair Bike MS Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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The Connecticut Chapter strives to provide knowledge and assistance to help people with MS and their families maintain the highest possible quality of life. These goals are achieved through vital national and local programs.

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Westport 2014 Praxair Bike MS Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities

June 10, 2014

Daria Vanderveer, left, and friend Melissa Roti, right, cross the finish line at the 2014 Praxair Bike MS Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities, which took place at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on June 8. Vanderveer, of Middlefield, met Roti, of Granby, years ago while participating in a cycling event. When the two found themselves riding side by side they struck up a relationship and eventually decided to do other rides together as well. In 2011, Vanderveer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and Roti remained by her side, saddling up for the Bike MS ride to raise funds to help fight the disease and find a cure. 

Westport residents Barbara Link, Jurgen Link, Anna Link and Mary Foster pose at the finish line of the 2014 Praxair Bike MS Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities, which took place at Sherwood Island State Park, in Westport, on June 8. The foursome completed the 25-mile route as a part of the Cotton Club Bike MS team, named for Richard Cotton. The Link family rode in support family and friends who are living with the potentially debilitating disease. 

Westport residents Anna and Jurgen Link petal the last few feet of the 25-mile 2014 Praxair Bike MS Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities, which took place at Sherwood Island State Park, in Westport, on June 8.

Hamden resident Celeste Weeks and Norwalk resident Laura Ferrer pose at the finish line after completing the 25-mile route of the 2014 Praxair Bike MS Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities, at Sherwood Island State Park, in Westport, on June 8. Weeks, an executive assistant with Gartner, Inc., has participated in the ride for four years. The ride was Ferrer’s second year of participating in the event. Together, Team Garter was made up of 41 people and raised more than $26,500 for Bike MS and plans to continue fundraising. 

James Potticary and Richard Bell pose with National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, President Lisa Gerrol after finishing the 100-mile 2014 Praxair Bike MS course. Potticary, who is only 15, was determined to complete the race with his father, Richard. However, when his dad’s body could push no further, Potticary was determined to keep going on his own. He hooked up with Richard Bell at mile 60, and the two rode together for the last 40 miles of the ride. While they didn't know each other at the beginning of the day, they were fast friends by the end. Both were struggling, but understanding that fatigue is a daily problem for individuals with MS, they made a pact to make it through to the end - together. After about 10 hours of cycling, these two crossed the finish line and were greeted by Gerrol, who stayed to ensure she saw every rider finish. The men were two of only about 20 cyclists who registered for the 100-mile ride. Potticary has a fundraising goal of $800 that has not yet been met. Fundraising continues until June 30. Nearly 700 cyclists saddled up for Bike MS and to date, the event has raised $390,000 of more than $500,000 goal. For more information on the 2014 Praxair Bike MS Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities, or to donate to Potticary, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.

Norwalk resident Jennifer Horsley and sister Laura Horsley pose for a picture in the Xerox tent before taking of for the 2014 Praxair Bike MS Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities. Jennifer, director of investor relations with Xerox, has been with the company for 18 years. Her sister, who took a train from Bethesda, M.D., has travelled to participate in the ride with her sister for the past four years. They both ride in support of a family member living with  multiple sclerosis. The Norwalk-based Xerox team had 11 riders participate in Bike MS, and together they raised more than $4,600. 

Ridgefield’s Brian Firstbrook and New Milford’s David Wodjenski cut the ribbon for the 100-mile 2014 Praxair Bike MS ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities. The riders left at 7:30 a.m. from Sherwood Island State Park, in Westport, on June 8. Firstbrook is account manager for IBM at Gartner and spear-headed the team’s development. The Stamford-based Gartner team had 41 riders participate in Bike MS, and Praxair had 43 cyclists. Both teams raised funds to help ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure for multiple sclerosis.

Team captains Lew Schwartz, of Stamford, and Rich Jarrett, of Danbury, line up to cut the ribbon at the start of the 50-mile 2014 Praxair Bike MS ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities. The riders left at 9:30 a.m. from Sherwood Island State Park, in Westport, on June 8. Schwartz was captain of the Stamford-based Gartner team and led the team of 41 riders. Jarrett’s Danbury Praxair team had 43 cyclists.

Danbury residents Cayla, Gabby, Jenn and Ed Balzarini hand out medals at the finish line of the 2014 Praxair Bike MS Ride, presented by Louis Dreyfus Commodities. The three women spent the day volunteer while Ed completed the 10-mile cycling route before returning to help. Ed was a member of the Praxair cycling team, which was made up of more than 40 cyclists and 20 volunteers. Together, the team raised nearly $18,000.

Carlie, Scott and Julie Sanderude, of Ridgefield, prepare to set out on a 25-mile search for a cure at the 2014 Praxair Bike MS Ride on June 8 at Sherwood Island State Park, in Westport. Scott, vice president of global marketing and business development at Praxair, has been with the company for 15 years. Carlie is a recent graduate of Principia College, in St. Louis, where she studied business and philosophy. The three were members of the Praxair cycling team, which was made up of more than 40 cyclists and 20 volunteers.

About the Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society

The Connecticut Chapter strives to provide knowledge and assistance to help people with MS and their families maintain the highest possible quality of life. These goals are achieved through vital national and local programs.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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