Thursday, August 3, 2017


2017’s Bike MS is just around the corner. On Friday, we gather down in Monmouth to begin the festivities: reacquainting with old friends & meeting new ones, riding the countryside on Saturday and Sunday, and celebrating our mutual commitment to defeat multiple sclerosis.

This year marks the 15th anniversary riding with the National MS Society. For the first time, I go into the weekend afraid. My body is failing at a rate I find difficult to track.

The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) strive to transform healthcare for Military Service Members and the American public through innovative and impactful research. In support of MS, their vision is “to prevent, cure, reverse, or slow the progression, and lessen the personal and societal impact of multiple sclerosis.” I recently had the pleasure of reaching out to our members of Congress in support of continuing MS research under the CDMRP. This is a cause I wholly support, but what can I do when every aspect of their vision is currently beyond my reach?

Slow the progression
Lessen the personal impact
Lessen the societal impact

The simple answer is to fight with everything I have, to never stop, and to never quit. I have no other option.
There is no way to lessen or overcome my fear. My limbs won’t work well, or at all, nor can I will them to do so. Fatigue will set in the moment I wake. My eyes will fail, my voice will grow weak. When I strap into my trike, I have no idea how far my legs will push me, if they work at all. I look at the temperature forecast and wonder how much 100+ degree weather will compound my weakened condition. Above all, as I struggle to set aside these doubts and forge ahead, I wonder if this will be the last year my body will have the energy to even begin such an undertaking.

Fears will press hard on my emotions, every minute of every moment. Instead, I need to give myself a reason to fight.

[Inside Voice]:
“Don’t fight to overcome your fear, for your fear will not subside. Never.”
“Don’t fight to show your fear who is stronger. Fear is.”
“Don’t fight to lessen your fear, make it go away, or drown it out. Fear doesn’t care; fear is not fighting you; fear is merely present.”
“Just fight. Fear is there and it’s not going away. Focus on the fight and maybe, just maybe, you’ll win.”

I win my fight if I overcome that which feeds my fear, my MS.

Prevent, Cure, Reverse, Slow the progression are in the hands of science. I need to fight so I can continue to raise money and awareness in support of the research and development of new therapies to prevent, cure, and treat MS. This is why I ride!

Cure, Reverse, Slow the progression are also in my hands. I need to fight so my body has the strength, opportunities, and resources to attack the MS already inside me. My ongoing therapies need revamped support in the name of radical changes to diet and exercise. August 1 = Day 1. This is why I ride!

Lessen the personal and societal impact of multiple sclerosis. The emotional challenges of my MS cripple far worse than the physical. This is a manual focus, every single day. “Remember that, Kevin: this is a manual focus, every single day.” This is why I ride!

I don’t want my story to be left untold.
When we win this fight, I don’t want to say, “I wish I did more to end this sooner.”
If I lose my battle before we win this fight, I don’t want to say, “I wish I did more when I could.”
Instead, I want to say, “Remember when we… Wow, was I scared!”

I am left wondering how many others felt this way when they finally confronted the brutality of their own fight. How many who fell thought they would win? How many who won feared they might fall?
Please support my fight

The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we ride!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®
Kevin Byrne
Portland, OR

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