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Motorcyclist on final leg of cross-country ride for MS

Chris Anderson hoping to raise $20,000

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 06:00 am

ON THE ROAD - Chris Anderson of St. Albert is close to finishing a cross-country ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis research.
ON THE ROAD - Chris Anderson of St. Albert is close to finishing a cross-country ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis research.
Supplied photo

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Every year the MS Society of Alberta hosts several popular fundraising bike tours, all somewhere between 150 and 200 kilometres.

Chris Anderson must have thought that they didn’t go far enough to help fight the debilitating disease of the central nervous system. So he got on his motorcycle and embarked on a ride from sea to sea, and back home again.

The St. Albert native set out from St. John’s, N.L. on July 17 on a nearly 12,000 kilometre journey that took him to Tofino on Vancouver Island. Now he’s on the last leg of his cross-country adventure, set to arrive at the Alberta legislature grounds in downtown Edmonton Sunday afternoon.

Anderson’s sister Erin explained that he was very supportive to her immediately after she told him that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a year and a half ago, and he hasn’t stopped since.

“He decided that he would do the ride to help me and all Canadians with MS,” she said. “He just wanted to do his part. When he told me, I just started crying and I dropped the phone. People will sometimes talk about doing stuff and that’s all it is is talk. When he told me how far he had gone … it was very real. I knew that he was committed to it.”

Now 31, Erin said that she doesn’t know why she developed the disease. There is no family history of it but she is in the primary age range (15 to 40) for people to be diagnosed.

“My neurologist said that if it would have been 10 years ago, he would have said, ‘I’m sorry. You’ve got a horrible disease and not much I can do for you’. He was pretty confident in saying at that time that he thought that within five years, there would be a cure.”

Anderson himself wasn’t available for an interview but on his blog (at www.msride.ca), he writes that the ride has been mostly smooth sailing. The only real complication he’s experienced of late is that he lost his video camera after its bike mount broke off. Along the way, he’s been chatting up people about the purpose of his ride, and visiting MS society chapters.

One of the blog posts features pictures that Erin sent him to encourage him on his travels. In the images, she’s in the hospital with tubes going into a blood vessel in her neck. She was unable to walk at the time.

Erin’s description reads: “Being diagnosed was a scary time and this was hands down the worst experience of my life. The right treatment got me turned around and I am walking again! Thank you for pushing along despite the challenges and doing this for Canadians with MS, as we will ALL benefit from your efforts!!”

On the day of that post, Erin was able to join her brother in Red Deer, riding on the back of her father’s motorcycle for part of the journey.

According to the MS Society’s website at www.mssociety.ca, multiple sclerosis is “unpredictable, affecting vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. Its effects are physical, emotional, financial, and last a lifetime.”

It also notes that Canada has one of the highest rates of MS diagnoses in the world. It is the most frequently diagnosed neurological disease for young adults in this country.

To follow along with Anderson on his ride, check out his blog at www.msride.ca. There, you can also contribute to the cause. As of Thursday, the tally was at $15,485. His goal is to raise $20,000.


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