RICHMOND, Va. -- Hundreds of cyclists are expected in Williamsburg this weekend for Colonial Crossroads Bike MS event.
UPS Team Captain Rick Schoepke rides to inspire others and to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis after he was diagnosed with the disease in 2002 at the age of 46.
Schoepke, who has been riding since 2009, took control of his health, first with medication, then with a few other important steps.
“I pray every day that I can continue leading a normal life. I exercise every day, I changed my diet to a more healthy diet, and above all, I stay positive,” Schoepke said.
MS affects everyone differently, most are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.
“The symptoms can be anywhere from numbness, tingling, optic neuritis, where you lose your vision, balance cognitive issues. We're looking for ways to stop the progression; we're looking for ways to restore what has been lost, and then we're obviously looking for a cure as well,” Bike MS Director Casey Kasko said.
While they wait for a cure, Schoepke, stays active by riding. He’s cutting his usual 175 miles to 42 this year because of hip surgery in January, but he’s hopeful for Bike MS 2023.
“One thing about Multiple Sclerosis is for me, I will never give up and I'll continue going forward and if I have a down day, I know the next day it'd be better," he said. "Try to be positive and know every day is not going to be a great day. But you know, you just you know you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and let's move on.”
“Bike MS is one of our largest fundraisers for the MS Society. So all the fundraising for bike MS goes to MS research, programs, and educational things for people living with MS," said Casey Kasko.
Cyclists have an option to ride from 175 – 200 miles and can start from either Smithfield, Williamsburg, or Richmond, and head to Williamsburg on June 4 and back to their original starting line on June 5, or take a shorter route, a 27-mile route that goes out from Chickahominy Riverfront Park to Charles City courthouse and back.
If you can't ride, you can volunteer, volunteers are needed for rest stops, the finish line, and medical volunteers are also needed. Click here to volunteer and/or make a donation to Bike MS.