RALEIGH, N.C. — Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system. It makes it difficult for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. Still, one woman with MS will be one of hundreds of riders pedaling in New Bern over the weekend for a cure.
Ten years ago, no one would have expected Christina Meglaughlin to ride a bike 150 miles over 2 days. She has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
"It was the last thing that I ever though I'd be doing too," Meglaughlin said. "I've lost my vision at one time. I've had what's called a drop foot, which I drug one side of my body. I've lost the use of my hands."
After occasional attacks, Meglaughlin regains most of the functioning she lost. Even before her diagnosis in 1993 her husband formed a bike-riding team to raise money for research aimed at a cure.
"My husband wanted me to be part of the bicycle team, even though I couldn't ride a bike. He put me on a tandem and I rode behind him," she said.
Now, she provides her own pedal power. Her team, Missing Links, hopes to raise $32,000 at the
2004 MS Bike Tour
this weekend in New Bern. She said the exercise helps, but it is not a cure. Some new treatments show promise in slowing down the disease.
"Right now, there's a lot of momentum. A lot of the lines that we really think are going to help us. We're very optimistic that in the relatively near future, we're going to have some answers," said Bob Bryan, eastern North Carolina chapter of the MS Society.
Some riders said they will keep riding until a cure is found.
"They make it possible for us to have so much hope about the future," Bryan said.
The MS Bike Tour is the largest organized cycling event in the country with 100 tours in 48 states. Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns WRAL, has a team riding in New Bern.