Photo by Vicky Dosso
Scott Dosso,13, will be riding in this year’s Bike MS: Express Script Gateway Getaway Ride 2015. He is close to reaching his personal goal to raise $750.
GODFREY — When the Bike MS: Express Scripts Gateway Getaway Ride needed a new home for its Sept. 12-13 ride, Lewis and Clark Community College was happy to oblige.
“The college is very excited to be hosting this incredibly well-run and established fundraising event that not only impacts the lives of those living with MS through the nearly $2 million raised each year, but will also positively impact our region’s economy and introduce a new audience of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area to the River Bend Region,” LCCC President Dale Chapman said.
The multiple sclerosis fundraising event is in its 31st year, but after 12 years in Columbia, Mo., the need for a change put Greater Alton on its radar.
Former Godfrey resident Randy Adler is event coordinator for the Gateway Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and head of this event.
“Due to circumstances, we were forced to move the event and by choice, we moved it to Godfrey,” Adler said. “LCCC was actually on our short list for locations to host our event in the Gateway region. It is the first time this event will be held on the Illinois side of the river and Dr. Chapman has been so gracious.
“LCCC has been wonderful to coordinate with, as well as Monica Bristow and the RiverBend Growth Association.”
“We thank Monica Bristow and the RiverBend Growth Association for bringing this opportunity to our campus, and we are really looking forward to welcoming the more than 3,000 cyclists and 1,000 volunteers to the River Bend this weekend,” Chapman added.
Altogether, the race is expected to bring up to 5,000 riders, spectators and volunteers to the area, giving the economy a boost and local visibility a face.
Minimum age to ride is 13 and participants can begin arriving at the college at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11. Registration fee is $80 Sept. 11-13, with a $250 fundraising minimum. Route options include a 25-, 50-, 75- and 100-mile bike ride that begins and ends at the college, 5800 Godfrey Road.
“It is an honor and privilege to have such an important event here in Godfrey,” Godfrey Mayor Mike McCormick said. “Credit must be given to Dr. Chapman, president of Lewis and Clark Community College, who was instrumental in bringing this event and opening up LCCC as the headquarters.”
“Multiple sclerosis involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves,” according to the National MS Society.
In laymen’s terms, it is when the immune system attacks the fatty substance that insulates nerve fibers, called myelin. The damaged myelin forms scar tissue, known as sclerosis. As a result, when there is damage to the myelin sheath or the nerve fiber, nerve impulses traveling to and from the spinal cord and brain are disrupted. This causes various symptoms which affect senses, strength, coordination and function throughout a person’s body.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for individuals with MS is important, and research is key. Participation in this event will help support programs, services, and research that make a huge difference to the people who must fight MS every day of their lives.
Adler said there is still room for riders and volunteers.
“There is still time to participate in this event,” he said. “If you can clap, you can volunteer. These riders need our support and encouragement, so please come support this event.
“Our top fundraiser last year raised over $48,000, so let’s show our support for every rider’s efforts.”
As of press time, the website showed this year’s event so far raising just over half of the $2.3 million goal.
This week, the route signs have been posted; area residents need to be on the lookout for signage regarding the ride.
“Please have patience; you may want to choose alternate routes this weekend because at times, there might be well over 1,000 bikers using the designated routes,” Adler said.