Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Generosity in Tough Times

This post is a shout out to some generous friends of mine*, to my niece** and to my uncle, Ron.

Last year, I rode in the 150-mile MS150 Bike Ride in Minnesota to raise money for multiple sclerosis research & support with my niece, Allison.

Not only did she ride the whole 150 miles, but she's doing it again next weekend!^

I realize times are tough, money is tight, and many of you have already given to other worthy causes, but if you could donate even a few bucks (I believe you can do it anonymously, too) it would be awesome. Alli is halfway to her goal of $2100, so if you can find even $5 or $10 to give, it would go a long way.^^

The MN MS Society put together a video of people living with MS and how they cope with this disease:

Alli's great-uncle (my uncle) Ron is her personal reason for riding; you can watch just his portion of the interviews here (and scroll down past the video to
read his story in his own words):

"My name is Ron Franke. After four months of symptoms, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in April of 1983. The next 13 years were a struggle, but I lived a relatively normal life. I walked, drove and worked full time. But the walking became more difficult, and during the last week of November in 1995 I took my last step. Over the next nine years my arms steadily became stiffer and weaker until they were gone. Just like the ocean waves continually pound the shoreline into sand, so did the waves of MS pound away at my mobility. But just like the ocean waves could never catch the wind, the waves of MS could not catch my attitude. Even though my legs and my arms don't work anymore, I wake up every morning with a smile. I have a great deal to be thankful for. I am a happy man. I am a lucky man.
Rather than reminisce about times gone by or dwell on my lost abilities, I choose to revel in my new life and all that I still have. I believe that people with disabilities and able-bodied people alike are often trapped by their own fears. Back during the November week when I quit walking, I was initially gripped with the fear of my loss. But soon I experienced the elation of my newfound freedom and the removal of the shackles on my withering legs. I have released myself from the prison of my fears. Now I am free. Now I can fly."

Thank you,
Bill Franke

* Specifically Alison, Andi + Hamish, Carolina, Lara, Tim, and Uma (in alphabetical order).
**And the rest of my family who is riding in the event again (I am not because it's in Minnesota and it nearly blew out my knee/IT band last year).
^My Dad, sister, and brother-in-law will also be riding again. I think this year marks my dad's 12th ride!
If you are able to donate (I won't harass you), just tell Alli that you're a friend of UB's.

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