Until five years ago, the only person Rebecca Gaston knew who had been diagnosed with MS was her aunt. That all changed when Rebecca received a diagnosis of MS in 2010. “Mine’s a whole lot more hopeful. She was diagnosed long before they had all of the wonderful, modern treatments that we have.” When she learned she too had MS, Rebecca received a lot of information from the Society. “That was the first place I went to learn about the disease and to understand what I was dealing with, and other than from my neurologist, that’s where most of my education came from. It came to be a very valuable resource for me, really from the very beginning.”
Last year, Rebecca got involved in her first event with the National MS Society. She had a doctor’s appointment that didn’t go so well. “Two of my closest girlfriends conspired to cheer me up, behind my back, and started looking into something we could do together. One thing led to another and we all just decided we were going to do the Bike MS ride... even though none of us even owned a road bike.”
The women all bought road bikes and started training together. “It was an awesome experience. The ride itself was wonderful, but the training and just kind of doing something beyond ourselves, it really breathed new life into all of us in different ways. It took me physically beyond where I had been in a long time…having a goal for myself and doing it with friends, for me, was awesome. So was having the opportunity to share about the disease with people who didn’t really understand what it was or maybe had misconceptions about what somebody with MS could or couldn’t do. It really opened up a lot of dialogue with co-workers, friends and family, as far as what we were doing, or why we were doing it.”
The group signed up for the 2015 Bike MS: Atlanta ride as soon as registration opened. Rebecca says she has a couple of reasons why it’s important to her to give back. “Obviously the Society benefits from the money received, it’s good to know that’s the end result. But I think for me, it’s knowing that I’ve found this new passion for riding my bike and it’s something that I’m able to do with the disease. And if I’m able to do this, then I should. God’s allowing me to do things that maybe other people with the disease can’t do, and so I feel like I should do it. Not just for me, but for them too. It’s a gift to be able to do this; it’s a beautiful gift.”
The camaraderie, passion and memories that come from participating in Bike MS: Atlanta ride lasts a lifetime. Connect with us at Bike MS and help fund global research projects that give hope to more than 2.3 million people worldwide living with MS.
To learn more about how you can get involved in Bike MS: Atlanta ride, visit bikems.org