180-km bike ride through Alberta prairies raises $1.7M for multiple sclerosis research
More than 1,600 cyclists rode to help find a cure for MS
Sunday's cold, wet weather made for a gruelling finish for the cyclists who took part in the Johnson MS Bike ride through rural Alberta this weekend.
More than 1,600 cyclists completed the 180-kilometre trek between Camrose and Leduc to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. The ride is the largest and longest-standing in the country, according to the event website.
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The weather didn't stop rider Sonja Taylor, who has been participating in the event for eight years in honour of a friend with the disease.
"It's minimal problems compared to dealing with the effects and challenges that MS brings to everybody that's afflicted by it," Taylor said.
Bike tour manager Nicole Gasior said the two-day tour through Alberta's prairies raises about $2 million each year.
"I'm so impressed with all the people that do it — and so inspired," she said. "It's absolutely crazy."
She highlighted how MS research is particularly important in Canada.
"Canada, within the world, has one of the highest rates of MS. And within Canada, Alberta has one of the highest rates of MS," Gasior said. "So the community really rallies behind people who they know are affected directly or indirectly."
Cyclist Ivan Tolentino said his goal was to ride for those who can't and to find a cure for the disease.
"This one is near and dear to our hearts because we have friends and family and coworkers who are afflicted with the disease," he said. "And it's our way to help."
As of Sunday night, the event website said the ride had raised more than $1.7 million.