WARWICK, R.I., May 27, 2014 - After Bike MS: Ride the Rhode team captain Gary Lanoue died in a cycling accident in Rehoboth, Mass., in April 2012, Warwick resident Ed Dutra and Frank Fermino, proud members of Lanoue’s team, got more involved.
“Two years ago, when the accident happened, I took a much bigger role in the team,” Dutra said of Team Beer Gutz, which was created seven years ago by friends who enjoy brewing beer. “I emailed Road ID and Clif Bar and I told them our story and a couple of other companies and I received a bunch of donations. We needed to rally.”
Last year, Team Beer Gutz set a fundraising goal of $10,000 for Bike MS: Ride the Rhode, the largest fundraiser for the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The money raised helps Rhode Islanders with MS and funds research to find a cure.
“We crushed it with over $31,000,” said Fermino, a former East Providence resident who lives in Somersworth, N.H., and works for Redhook Brewery. “The raw emotion and enthusiasm of the people involved with this particular MS ride is something that brings me back every year.”
This summer’s Bike MS: Ride the Rhode, which will be held the weekend of June 21, will mark the third ride without Lanoue and the team he started has grown to about 30 cyclists and 14 volunteers.
“We decided to become a driving force,” Dutra said. “We lost our founding member and a really, really good friend. We wanted to take the bull by the horns and go all the way with it. The loss of a dear friend has brought me closer to the people who are still here with me and every chance that I can help them makes Gary’s memory grow stronger.”
Fermino has been cycling in Bike MS since 2007.
“My friend Gary Lanoue asked when I was going to stop chasing points on a little BMX bike and come do this charity ride with him,” Fermino said, noting that he still races BMX bikes. “He convinced me that if I could do 20 miles, I could 150 if I just take it in small chunks. June of 2007, I did my first charity ride, Gary did his 11th, and an addiction to road biking was born.”
Just as Lanoue had gotten Fermino involved in Bike MS, Fermino got Dutra to participate in the popular, weekend bike ride.
“My friend Frank asked if I wanted to ride,” Dutra remembered. “He knew I cycled, and it’s a great opportunity to get out and ride with fun people and do something nice for people who need it.”
Fermino thinks about Lanoue every year while he cycles in Bike MS: Ride the Rhode. “Gary may be gone but never forgotten and stories are shared along the ride every year,” he said. “I typically take a mile or so along the route and pedal alone or in silence, thinking of my buddy and I bring his picture with me as well.”
The premiere 2-day cycling event in the state, Bike MS: Ride the Rhode will kick off from Pawtucket on June 21 and hundreds of cyclists will ride approximately 75 miles to Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. They will be met with enthusiastic supporters, a beer tent, and BBQ. Later, they will feast on dinner and enjoy entertainment before staying overnight. The next morning, they will cycle the remaining 75 miles along a different route to the starting location to celebrate with a finish line lunch. The ride is considered easy-to-moderate with various riding conditions and some rolling hills. To register or learn more, visit www.bikemsrhodeisland.org.
Bike MS: Ride the Rhode sponsors include: Dupuis Oil, Delta Dental, AAA of Southern New England, FedEx, Harpoon Brewery, Dash Bicycle, East Providence Cycle, NBX, W.E. Stedman, and Your Bike Shop.
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 2.1 million people worldwide.
About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. The Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, collaborating with MS organizations around the world, and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move forward with their lives. The Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. Join the movement at nationalMSsociety.org.
Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for many people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional and contacting the National MS Society at nationalMSsociety.org or 1-800-FIGHT-MS (344-4867).