By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - Over 600 fundraising cyclists faced hundreds of kilometers on a trek to end multiple sclerosis at the Ottawa to Cornwall MS Bike Tour.
© Adam Brazeau
650 cyclists participated in the 2013 Ottawa to Cornwall MS Bike Tour. Pictured (from left) Deborah Durbin, Scott Follis, Michelle Davis and John Messier.
Ottawa Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada representative Leanne Anderson said the tour has raised $430,000. Just $70,000 shy of their target goal. She added that the number can still be reached since cyclists have over a month to raise additional funds.
A few of the cyclists were bringing in big dollar amounts on their own.
"This year we have members who have raised over $10,000 each," said Anderson.
The highest amount raised was $20,000 from Ottawa's Mark Freedman, an MS neurologist.
Changing the route to Cornwall as a final destination instead of Kemptville two years ago has proven well for the tour.
"This new route is very popular," said Anderson. "We have almost a 100 more cyclists this year."
Anderson said the former route was "getting stale" and that Cornwall's Nav Canada Centre was a great facility, since it can house a thousand people. This year 650 cyclists participated.
Rows of bicycles on dozens of racks filled one of the centre's main auditoriums. Inside, the Durbin family from Toronto were wiping off the sweat from a long bike ride.
"We do it every year as a family event," said 25-year-old Deborah Durbin.
Durbin and her dad, Edwin and mom, Janet, all wore matching shirts for the tour with their names sewn on.
Tour leader John Messier jumped on his bike eager to help steer his fellow cyclists in the right direction. He's been volunteering to put an end to multiple sclerosis for 23 years.
"It takes all the hard work and effort of our volunteers to raise these funds for multiple sclerosis," said Anderson.
Approximately 200 volunteers manned rest stops, fed cyclists and repaired bikes to help put an end to the disease.
To find out more visit, http://msbiketours.ca/.