SAN MARCOS, Calif. — A group of San Diego County cyclists has raised millions of dollars to fight Multiple Sclerosis. In this Zevely Zone, I went to San Marcos to meet some MS Champions.
A man by the name of Howard Gray who lives in Kentucky inspired a group of passionate people to create Howard's Team. "I want you to know how honored I am to be a part of Howard's Team, I've had this disease for almost 30-years," said Howard in a video on the team's website.
In 2008, the San Diego County cyclists started biking in honor of Howard Gray. The goal? Raise money to find a cure. "Yes, we will. Guaranteed, we will find a cure for MS," said Tim Salmon who has been battling Multiple Sclerosis for 20 years himself.
"Our main goal is just to raise as much money as we can," said Tim. Every October, Howard's Team rides in the Bike MS: Bay to Bay. The San Diego County squad has become the number one friends and family team in the nation. How much money have they raised? "$2.8 million," said Team Captain Devin Callahan with a huge smile. Devin's 13-year-old daughter Amelia is the youngest rider on the team. "I raised 18,000 dollars. I have an aunt that has MS, and she is in a wheelchair and almost paralyzed," said Amelia.
Every cyclist rides for their own special reason and it's a great time to do it. "March is MS Awareness Month," said Renata Sahagian. She is the MS Society's chapter president. "Every dollar counts, we have amazing programs and services and research, and we are so close to a cure," said Renata.
The cyclists often start and end their rides at the Double Peak Brewing Company. "Once you meet the MS Champions there is no doubt why you would cycle for Multiple Sclerosis," said Lucinda Harton. She and her husband Frank Harton are the owners of Double Peak Brewing Company.
Frank created a beer to honor those fighting the disease called MS Champions. "Rob, Tim, they are all champions, we call them champions because they are the ones who have MS. They are the guys who are going out there and fighting every day to get through life and also find a cure for everybody," said Frank.
Of the sixty-five cyclists on Howard's Team, twelve are battling MS. "It feels awesome. It makes you feel not alone," said Rob Evans. He was diagnosed with MS 11 years ago and told me it was at that time he made a choice. "To give up or to fight and I chose to fight," said Rob. They all do, for Tim, Rob, Howard Gray and every MS Champion.
"Go Howard's Team," they all yelled. If you are a fellow MS Champion, ask one of the Howard’s Team MS Champions for a patch. The patch will symbolize your desire to stand united and rise up as we work to create a world free of MS.
Direct donations to the team is a simple way for you to support them in recruiting new members and creating an inspiring team environment. Funds raised go to support their website, promotional materials, award jerseys, and our annual team dinner. For more information click here.
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