A decade may seem like a long time when you are in line for an ice cream cone or a covid test, but for me, the last ten years have flown by in a nano second. It was just ten years ago, on a long ride to my home in New Hampshire from Daytona Beach, Florida that I decided I wanted to `dedicate my motorcycle riding to raise awareness for MS. I had no idea what would become of my journey, and certainly could not have predicted some of the amazing people I have met and motorcycle milestones I have reached along the way. If someone told me I would have the opportunity to set four world records, raise over a quarter of a million dollars for charity or have a motorcycle on display in the World’s Largest Museum, I probably would have laughed hysterically. In a million years I never would have seen myself as a peer advocate for newly diagnosed patients or appearing on various media platforms for disease modifying treatments including brochures and informational websites!
Today, I’m riding a motorcycle provided to me by my corporate sponsor, Yamaha Motors USA. Yamaha has stepped up and supported me in every possible way they could over the last five years, including hosting me and my bike at every national event and helping me with my travel expenses. I am also wearing top of the line riding gear provided by Aerostich Manufacturing and I haven’t had to pay for any of the last 100 sets of tires I have worn out because of the support of Bridgestone USA. Many other companies have stepped up and provided me with gear and supplies along the way as well.
Fundraising events take a lot of time to create and promote, but without the support of donations to the charity, they would not be successful. Every time I ask for help for another one of my cockamamie ideas hatched over a micro-brew, my friends, followers and supporters have always pulled through. Just a few weeks ago, I put together a wacky live comedy improvisational fundraising event in Florida, where I pled my case before a crowd of long distance riders at a mock parole hearing! It was silly, but with the free beer flowing and 10 unsuspecting volunteers, we managed to raise $3500 in about an hour. Sadly, the board voted and I was not granted parole!
Finding new and interesting fundraisers to keep folks engaged is a bit of work as well, but I still have a few more crazy ideas up my sleeve! Look for another world record this Fall and I will be speaking at a dozen national motorcycle events as well as a few live MS patient educational events this summer.
My health has had some ups and downs over the last ten years as well, a few more MS lesions in my brain have caused a few more symptoms to join the constant memory, weakness and bladder issues. I had spine, eye and nerve surgery, a few more kidney stones, a few heart stents and I have lost some hair and a few more teeth, but I’m not slowing down!
Traveling on two wheels for long stretches of time in all kinds of weather certainly has created some issues at home, often leaving my wonderful wife to take care of the house and yard; cleaning, raking, mowing, snow blowing and caring for our sick dog all while holding down a real job! Her support of my journey has never wavered, even though I know how tough my being away has been on our relationship. My wife is the true hero of this story!
My original goal was to document riding one million miles for Multiple Sclerosis.
My amazing journey has just rounded the corner I am heading for the home stretch………
I’ll be home soon, sweetie!