LaGRANGE — Participants of an upcoming bike ride from Newnan to LaGrange have less than a month to train and raise funds for multiple sclerosis.
The Atlanta Peach Ride, sponsored by the National MS Society, begins at the Blalock Lakes community in Newnan and ends in downtown LaGrange between Oct. 1 and 2, according to its organizers. The ride offers 30, 60 and 100 miles options.
Participants pay a $75 registration fee and must raise at least $350 in funds to go toward MS research.
One local couple is planning to bike 60 miles during the race, and have been training throughout the year. Pat and Thelon Hamby of LaGrange aim to complete the race over a two-day period. But for the Hambys, the race is about more than cycling or raising funds.
Pat Hamby said she was diagnosed with MS is 2001.
“I heard about the MS Bike Ride, and for my 60th birthday, I thought, ‘how perfect, I can ride 60 miles for MS on my 60th birthday,’” Pat Hamby said. She completed the race and it inspired her husband, Thelon Hamby, to do the same — this year around the time of his 60th birthday.
“I’ve just started riding my bike this year,” Thelon Hamby said. “So I’m new to this. It’s basically a 30 mile ride down here, and then the next day, it’s 30 miles back, so it’s 60 miles over the two days.”
Pat Hamby’s journey with MS has taken years. After she was diagnosed, she started cycling at a local gym. She did it for strength training to combat MS, and soon started biking on the roads. Although MS was the primary reason she started, she’s seen benefits in other areas of her health.
“Whenever you have any kind of disease, you have to stay active,” Pat Hamby said. “This is just something I can do. I just know from going to my doctor visits, my blood pressure is good, my cholesterol is good, and it helps with your overall health.”
Pat Hamby said she was diagnosed after years of symptoms but no conclusive tests. Eventually an MRI showed the tell-tale signs, and she began taking medication, which helps control her symptoms.
MS is thought to affect as many as 2.3 million people worldwide, according to the National MS Society. The disease’s exact cause isn’t know, but it occurs when the immune system attacks a fatty substance that coats nerves called myelin. The damaged myelin forms scars tissue, called sclerosis, which damages the nerve and can cause a variety of symptoms. There is no known cure for MS.
Anyone interested in signing up for the Bike MS Atlanta Beach Ride may register by visiting www.bikeMS.org.
Tyler H. Jones is a reporter for LaGrange Daily News. He can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.