The Kentucky/Southeast Indiana Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society  will hold its 25th annual Bike MS: Bike the Bluegrass on June 4-5, 2011.
The multi-day fundraising  event is one of the nation's largest, taking place in over 100 markets nationwide. Bike MS: Bike the Bluegrass is being held at St Catharine College , located in scenic Springfield, Kentucky.
Stacy Funk, Kentucky-Southeast Indiana Chapter President, says that approximately 400 people will be hosted for the overnight event; this includes cyclists, walkers, volunteers, and organizers. More than 300 cyclists are expected to come out and help raise the goal of over $200,000.
Day one will begin at St. Catharine College in Springfield. Rider check-in and registration will begin at 6:30 a.m. and the route will open at 8:00 a.m.
There will be 25, 50, 75 and 100-mile options with rest stops every 10 – 12 miles and Scheller’s Fitness and Cycling  mechanical support vehicles all along the way.
Funk credits Brian Ellis with planning this year's picturesque course, which promises to deliver beautiful Kentucky scenery, pretty countryside and just a few hills.
Chapter President Stacy Funk said, "The first night will be lots of fun [which includes] a big, big party at Maker's Mark distillery . They're one of our great sponsors underwriting the whole party."
The annual fundraiser begins a new nationwide initiative to raise  250 million dollars by year 2015. Forty-eight chapters will be contributing to the ambitious goal, which aims to raise more money for national research than ever before. Funds raised will support direct services and programs  for the more than 4,800 people with MS and their families in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
In fact, Funk says that there are more than five-thousand people diagnosed annually with Multiple Sclerosis every year in our region alone.
Funk said, "[There are] five-thousand annual diagnoses in our area, but the researchers say there could be up to five times as many people affected."
This illustrates how tricky Multiple Sclerosis can be to detect. The Mayo Clinic says that symptoms vary widely, depending on the amount of damage and which nerves are affected. People with severe cases of multiple sclerosis may lose the ability to walk or speak. Multiple sclerosis can be difficult to diagnose early in the course of the disease because symptoms often come and go — sometimes disappearing for months. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.5 million worldwide.
There's no cure for multiple sclerosis. However treatments can help treat attacks, modify the course of the disease, and treat symptoms.
Fundraising efforts like Bike MS, generate lots of dollars for research that ultimately translate into making patient treatment much less invasive and time consuming. Funk says that recently the FDA has approved exciting advancements in treatment, but still the number one goal Funk says, is to cure the disease.
Funk said,"As of last December, there were only intravenous medications available that required multiple shots a week. Or the patient could go to an infusion center once a week or twice a month for a couple hours of infusion meds, which usually resulted in Flu-like symptoms."
Funk says that the problem with these treatments were obviously the flu-like symptoms and the inflammation of injection sites which could greatly lessen the patient's mobility.
Funk said,"This past December, a new oral medication was introduced which made it so much easier for patients and caretakers."
The Kentucky/Southeast Indiana chapter also uses the funds raised to create, support, and operate several beneficial programs and services for those suffering from the debilitating disease.
The following programs are available to MS patients and their families:
- Financial Assistance 
- Grocery Assistance 
- Education and Information 
- Health Programs and Services 
- Counseling and Social Support Programs 
For more information or to register, go to www.BikeMSky.org , or call Chelsea Denny at 502.451.0014.
About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society  exists to make sure it doesn’t. We help each person address the challenges of living with MS. In 2007 alone, through our home office and 50 state network of chapters, we devoted over $136 million to programs that enhanced more than one million lives.
To move us closer to a world free of MS, the Society also invested over $50 million to support 440 research projects around the world.
We are people who want to do something about MS NOW. Join the movement at nationalMSsociety.org . Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional and contacting the National MS Society at nationalMSsociety.org  or 1-800-FIGHT-MS (344-4867).
About Multiple Sclerosis
Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.
The advancement, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease.
MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.5 million worldwide.