By Andrew Rich
This past weekend, 150 riders participated in the National MS Society’s 2014 Bike MS: Minuteman Ride, raising money for MS research and services. But not everyone who ventured to the starting line at the Concord District Courthouse in Concord, MA was there to strap on a helmet and pedal.
Peter and Leah Iarossi of Danvers, MA have been married since May of this year. Their relationship began when the two met during an MS fundraiser. They kept in touch and started dating. A little over a year after they met, Peter and Leah got married on Martha’s Vineyard, appropriately after the Bike MS: Ride the Vineyard fundraiser.
Leah has been living with MS since 2009. In order to raise funds for MS research and to support his wife, Peter started irideforleah.com in April. The website gave visitors a look at Peter and Leah’s story. It also allowed them to donate money for the National MS Society’s 2014 Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway to help reach Peter’s and Leah’s fundraising goals. With the help of I Ride for Leah, the loving couple raised a combined $3,385 for their team, Velox Rota.
Peter and Leah have been riding together in other National MS Society events, such as Bike MS: Ride the Vineyard, Bike MS: New Hampshire Seacoast Escape, and the Cape Cod Getaway.
“Until there’s a cure, we’re not gonna stop,” Peter said.
At this year’s Minuteman Ride, presented by Biogen Idec, Peter and Leah did not participate as riders. However, that didn’t mean they were just going to sit idly on the sidelines. They came to the event as volunteers, complete with their own support vehicle, VR1. It’s Peter’s personal car, but it’s also professionally “wrapped” with colorful advertising for their fundraising website and sponsors.
Over the years, Leah has tried multiple treatments to curb her symptoms, including chemotherapy and injections. Thanks to events like the Minuteman Ride, new avenues for treating MS have been discovered that give her a chance to live more comfortably.
“With the chemo, I had one good week a month,” said Leah. “New treatments have helped me live a better lifestyle.”
Although I Ride for Leah is just the two of them for now, Peter and Leah have the support of their friends behind them. They hope to see it grow for each event they participate in.
“I’m gonna try to find a way to ride,” said Leah. “No matter what, I’ll be at the events, riding or volunteering.”
To learn more about MS, or how you can help people with MS, go to www.MSnewengland.org.