Next summer will mark ten years year since declaring my attempt to ride a million miles by motorcycle for Multiple Sclerosis. Although I thought my mission would be close to completed by now, I am proud that each and every mile I have logged was attending or speaking at events where I was either rising awareness, funds for charity, or both. Heading into 2021, I did not know what to expect, the pandemic was still raging across the country, affecting almost every live event I usually attend or speak at as well as travel and other restrictions.
My health wasn’t exactly stellar shape either, my cornea transplant last Fall was a blinding failure and half way through this year I developed some weird joint issues in my hands and knees. I’ve been patiently waiting 6 months for a diagnosis, but Google and my neurologist both think I have developed a second autoimmune disease, this time Rheumatoid Arthritis. A few more lesions have appeared on my MRI’s as well, showing my MS is starting to progress as well, Lucky me!
What I didn’t expect, was to have a stellar year raising money for people living with MS. In fact, my fundraising efforts in 2021 have surpassed any of the proceeding decade. It started with a crazy Texas mock trial where I was accused of having some crazy gene that caused my to ride motorcycles. Riding from New Hampshire to Dallas in February was enough to find me guilty, but the event raised over $6,000.
My Nut on a Bolt world record attempt on a chopper was just as crazy and successful, pulling in $20,000 for the charity. I set the record for coast to coast on a chopper and Andrew Cole of Bentonville, Arkansas was the winner of the Chopper.
I delivered a few keynote presentations for rallies and motorcycle clubs that also raised about $6,000. My annual MS5000 fundraiser was a bit smaller this year, mainly because I was on the road and really unable to promote it. It was still a great success, pulling in over $20,000 for MS Views and News.
2021 was the first year of the new International Motorcycle Show Outdoors format, and they organized nine trade show events across the county. I presented seminars at four shows, northern California, Chicago, Atlanta and the last show in southern California. The other five shows I was on display with my sponsor Yamaha. Of course I rode my motorcycle to each and every event, after going home in between. Just riding to these nine events was over 30,000 miles logged for MS!
Adding in a few fundraisers and bike rallies in Sturgis and Daytona, I rode a total of 60,000 miles this year raising awareness and funds for charity.
Sure my mind and body are falling apart, but my miles per dollar raised efficiency is certainly getting better! In almost ten years, I have ridden 500,000 miles and raised almost $300,000 for MS. If my efficiency keeps improving, I may end up raising a million dollars before I reach the million miles on my journey.
Now, I suppose that wouldn’t be such a bad thing would it?