Health Check: Bike MS - Ride the Rhode
Twenty-three-year-old Nicole Caron recently showed off a bicycle that's older than she is. It was ridden during the first Bike MS 26 years ago.
She'll be riding a newer model in a couple of weeks and is featured on this year's poster promoting the event.
"That had to have been the beginning of the ride because I look pretty happy," Caron said.
She's referring to the fact that this is a two-day, 150-mile bike ride that begins at Hasbro's headquarters in Pawtucket. The bikers stay overnight at Wheaton College in Norton and then head back to Rhode Island.
For Caron, a nurse, the ride is personal. She was diagnosed with MS when she was 15 years old.
"I had numb fingers in August -- just three of them. I had been at soccer camp and thought I had just injured myself. Then it went away after two to three weeks. And then about two months later, I was still on the soccer team and had basically debilitating migraines for five days and nothing was making them go away," Caron said.
Caron found out she had MS, an oftentimes debilitating disease of the central nervous system.
"My family didn't know what to do. Basically, my dad wanted to do something to try to benefit it, so he heard about the ride," Caron said.
Now the entire family -- her dad, Mike, brother, Kyle, and mom, Judy -- takes part in the annual 150-mile bicycle ride. Her mom is a volunteer. Their team, Brake the Cycle, has raised $100,000 over the years.
"It's our biggest fundraiser event here in Rhode Island," said Kathy Mechnig of the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
About 1,000 cyclists take part.
Liz Coccio is team captain of Wheels on my Heels.
"It's kind of an obscure Elvis song," Coccio said. "Actually, I started doing it because my father-in-law had MS for a long time, and he actually passed away from complications of MS about 12 years ago."
The ride is fast approaching
"And cyclists can still register up until the Wednesday before. It's June 22 and 23," Mechnig said.
The society is also looking for volunteers.