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Riding For A Good Cause: MS 150 Is This Weekend

Thirtieth annual bike ride from Houston to Austin benefits multiple sclerosis patients.


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Jon Parker
Jon Parker is riding in the BP MS 150 for the fourth year in a row, this year as a ride marshal.

This will be the fourth time Jon Parker is participating in the ride.

He said when he rode the first time, he just saw it as a physical challenge and in fact didn’t even know what multiple sclerosis is.

“And as it kind of progressed throughout the years, I met a lot of people with MS, and it started to become more about the cause and then with a fun ride mixed in with it,” Parker said.

Each rider needs to raise a minimum of $400 in order to participate in the MS 150. The money goes toward MS research and programs and services for patients.

Kelli Dreiling is vice president of development for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Houston. She says there are about 100 similar rides throughout the country but Houston’s is the biggest fundraiser for her organization and, with 13,000 riders, has the most participants.

So what is it about Houston?

“I’m not sure what the answer is,” Dreiling said. “I think it’s a combination of things. I think we have a very generous city with a lot of great companies. The teams that we have just really rally behind it – and pretty decent weather year-round for riding.”

After raising $18.1 million last year, this year’s goal is $18.5 million.

Jon Parker is doing his part in it. He raised the minimum amount in his first year. For this year, he’s almost reached his goal of $1,000.

“I’m closing in on it. Have about $200 left to go.”

He said what he likes most about the ride is that it’s kind of like a big party.

“You get to just, like, meet a bunch of fun people along the way. There’s going to be hundreds of people at every rest stop,” he said. “And so you get to kind of talk with people and, I mean, everyone is out there with the same goal and out there to have fun.”

The BP MS 150 starts early Saturday morning (April 12) in Houston. It ends on Sunday evening in Austin.

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