Aiming to raise $20 million, world’s single largest MS fundraiser is propelled by riders from BP, ConocoPhillips, Shell
Hundreds of bicyclists from Energy Corridor company teams will pedal to help the more than 2.3 million people afflicted with multiple sclerosis worldwide in the 32nd Annual BP MS 150 Houston-to-Austin bike ride April 16-17.
All told, an estimated 13,000 cyclists from around the world – plus thousands of volunteers and supporters – will unite for the ride, which has raised more than $224 million during its 31-year history to support multiple sclerosis research, programs and services.
BP America, with a large campus in The Energy Corridor District, has raised more than $16 million to support the MS Society’s mission since it began sponsoring the event in 2001. BP also maintains the event’s largest cycling team.
Come dawn Saturday, April 16, the Tully Stadium parking lot in The Energy Corridor will transform into an animated sea of multi-color bike jerseys and eager riders fueled by music, months of preparation and a cheering crowd that lines Dairy Ashford to send off the riders on their two-day, 180-mile journey.
“It’s an inspiring scene to see thousands of people united to change the lives of people suffering from MS,” explains Clark Martinson, general manager for The District. Both Martinson and Robert Rayburn, The District’s landscape architect, have ridden the BP MS 150 several times.
“Riding or volunteering for the BP MS 150 is an extraordinary experience,” Martinson says. “The hundreds of Energy Corridor-based riders participating each year speaks volumes about the people working and living here.”
Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. At least two to three times more women than men are diagnosed with the disease. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving closer to a world free of MS, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society,
“We are so grateful for all the people who make the BP MS 150 a success each year,” says Kelli Dreiling, vice president of development for the National MS Society. “The dedication of participants, our title sponsor BP America, corporate sponsors and volunteers motivates our fundraising efforts and empowers us to help each individual with MS live their best lives now.”
The BP MS 150 journey begins in Houston, overnights in La Grange where riders celebrate and refresh, then finishes in downtown Austin near the State Capitol.
Both novice and seasoned cyclists tackle the ride, which is fully supported with highly-coordinated routes and special attention to rider safety and comfort.
To register for the 2016 ride, cyclists can visit BPMS150.net. To engage with others interested in the ride and passionate about creating a world free of MS, visit the BP MS 150 Facebook page, or follow on Twitter at @BPMS150.