Michael Braem is a first time MS Gong Rider, but a long time MS Events participant. Living in Newberg, Oregon USA, Michael lives with multiple sclerosis and has signed up for the virtual event pledging to ride 82 KMs.
Here's Michael's story:
“This is my first MS Gong ride. I am happy to be participating in the ride because I have MS and I can ride. This October will be a special month for all riders. It is important for me and all of us to ride for all the people living with MS. So, we can find a cure to defeat this disease.
I have many friends who are stricken with this disease and are either wheelchair, walker, crutches, cane or home bound. It just breaks my heart and I try to do anything I can.”
Michael has pledged to ride 82Kms. It takes planning and dedication to complete this distance. We asked Michael what his plan was for training.
“I will be riding here in the states, in my home town. I have a couple of routes marked out so will be riding several evenings and week-ends on my three wheel recumbent bike. Living with MS and dealing with it everyday, means I have a mind set to push forward and never give up. It is who I am today and will use it to succeed in logging in the miles I am able to do.”
Michael volunteers for MS at the offices in America and participates in the events held near his home town. One of these events is the MS Bike, although Michael wasn’t always able to take part in this event. He explained that riding a traditional bicycle isn’t possible for him, but thanks to advancements in technology, he is now able to participate in cycling events.
“I was diagnosed with MS in September of 1997. I started volunteering at our MS office in October and have been at each of our walk and bike events ever since. The MS Bike always intrigued me the most. It was a two-day event. You made friends and through the years became close. I loved the Bike. I only wish I could ride in one. Just one ride would mean so much to me!”
“My MS at the time has certainly made it impossible for me to ride. I even thought of going tandem on a bike just to say I did it.
Then, when I was at an MS cycling event in another state. I notice a lady who was riding a three wheel recumbent bike. I gave it a try. Like a baby walking for the first time. My heart was filled with joy. When I got home I found it online. Went to the bike shop and had them order me one. Then I trained like no end. That next year I rode in the cycling event for MS. It only about 20 miles the first day. But, to me it was like I rode for 100 miles that day. I felt whole again. I have been riding ever since. That was in 2008.”
Michael is a true inspiration, his dedicated and determinedness is something to be admired. We asked Michael how he gets his drive…
“I have always tried to stay positive. The MS is not going to take me down. It is not going to win. Even on my worse day. I know I have to get up and walk. If not, I might never walk again. Then who wins? This is why I am riding this year in the MS Gong Ride Virtual, to support people with MS. To show others, you can do it (ride) too.”
Michael finishes up encouraging anyone who was thinking of signing up, to ask their peers to join then and we couldn’t agree more.
“Grab a friend. Make a team. Please, join us this October to help end this disease. No matter who you are. We are all Champions in this fight to end MS!”
Michael J. Braem