Apr 26, 2012
Mahwah – Every hour someone is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis(MS), a chronic disease of the central nervous system for which there is no cure. Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and can stop people from moving. For some, this means living with unpredictable symptoms that can come and go, like numbness and blurred vision. For others, there is more permanent damage, like paralysis. For everyone impacted by MS, it means not knowing what the day will bring and always being prepared for the unexpected, making it difficult to move forward in life.
Mahwah resident Lisa Calitri was named the 2012 Bike MS Ambassador for the New Jersey Metro Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Lisa, who has been living with MS for the past fifteen years, will help to raise awareness of this devastating disease and the Bike MS “Coast the Coast” fundraising event by sharing her story.
About 20 years ago Lisa got a devastating call from her sister, who told Lisa that she had been diagnosed with MS. MS was not new to Lisa and her sister, their aunt had been living with the disease for years and was confined to a wheelchair because of the disease. Lisa was heartbroken and did not know what to say to her sister but she did know that she needed to be strong and supportive.
Fast forward five years and Lisa had reached her personal and professional goal of becoming a world ranked (number 15) racquetball player. Her life was going according to plan until she started having difficulty on the court. Lisa recalls “weird things started happening to me. All of a sudden I couldn't grip my racquet, I fell on the court, the ball was not going where I intended and my feet were not responding to what I had asked them to do so many times before.” She would join her aunt and her sister becoming one of the over 15,000 people in New Jersey living with multiple sclerosis.
Again the news was devastating and brought an abrupt end to her racquetball career. Lisa decided that she was notgoing to let MS stop her from "living". 2012 marks the 11th year that Lisa will peddle her bike 170 miles in support of all those affected by multiple sclerosis. In that time she and her team “Lisa’s Team” have raised almost a quarter of a million dollars to help fund a cure. “I ride in honor of those who can't, such as my sister, my brother-in-law (diagnosed 6 years ago) and so many others that I have met over the years during this great event and that have touched me so deeply and given me so much strength to fight on”, says Lisa. "I DO BECAUSE I CAN!"
On Saturday and Sunday May 19-20, 2012 Lisa and her team will put the pedal to the meddle and coast the New Jersey coast to help create a world free of MS in the 2012 Bike MS “Coast the Coast” Ride. Her goal is to create MS awareness and raise funds to support critical programs and services and h help fund a cure.
The New Jersey Metro Chapter’s “Coast the Cost” Bike MS ride will host over 2,000 participants and volunteers with a goal of raising $2 million as they pedal from Long Branch to Cape May. Participants are welcome to register individually, or join or create a team, there are also shorter route options available. For more information about Bike MS please contact: Mary Beth Maclearieat 800-344-4867 or visit http://bikenjm.nationalmssociety.org.
About the National MS Society
The National MS Society is a movement by and for people with MS. The Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education and provides programs and services that help people with MS and their families to move their lives forward. MS stops people from moving. We exist to make sure it doesn’t.
Fund-raisers include: Walk MS, New Jersey’s largest day of walking, kicking off April 15, 2012; Bike MS “Coast the Coast,” on May 19 & 20, cycling from Monmouth University in Long Branch to Cape May, featuring 25, 50, 85 and 170 mile ride options; and the fall 2012 Bike MS events, the “Hops to Hops”, (September 16) and the Great N.J. Country, (September 22 & 23) Bike MS Rides.
Join the movement.
Find out more at nationalmssociety.org.
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