BY DAN MCNEE
LISTOWEL – It’s difficult to find someone who hasn’t been touched by multiple sclerosis in their life one way or another.
Keeping that in mind, a local group of fundraisers are taking it upon themselves to once again bring in dollars to help find a cure for the disease that afflicts up to 75,000 men and women across Canada. It is estimated that about three more people are diagnosed with MS every day.
“You gradually hear of more and more people who are affected by it,” said Don Annett, captain of the local “Cycloners for Robyn” MS Bike Tour team.
The 52-year-old Listowel resident and Junior Cyclones president will be heading up the cycling group that will travel from Grand Bend to London and back on July 27 and 28. The 150-kilometre ride will be Annett’s fifth run and first as captain. Friend and teammate Ben Cornell first organized the team and has completed 12 rides.
“It’s not too bad – I can do it fairly quickly,” said Annett of the MS Bike Tour. “You can go whatever speed you like. If it’s too slow you just pick up speed, and if it’s too fast you slow down.”
Annett’s 17-person team brought in around $15,000 for MS research in 2012, with the Grand Bend-London event raising $1 million total. Last year’s edition also accomplished the feat of having the most riders in Canada for the MS Tour, with nearly 1,900 taking part.
Annett said that the team is still looking for additional riders to join, and are also looking to match last year’s fundraising total.
“It’s not a competition to see who can raise the most,” said Annett. “It’s all going to the same cause so it’s all good. And the more people we have riding, the more fun it is.”
Annett typically cycles 75-100 km a week recreationally, and says that the Tour ride is not a huge stretch for him. He just hopes that locals will support his team and the MS Society of Canada in the effort to help cure the devastating disease.
“There are so many worthy causes out there, so it’s hard to pick and choose,” said Annett. “MS does affect a lot of Canadians and people worldwide.”
To join the Cycloners for Robyn bicycle team or to pledge one of its members, contact Annett via email at email@example.com.