On June 24-25, 2017, Kelly Dumas, occupational therapist at Life Care Center of Auburn, Massachusetts, will be participating in the Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway to raise money and awareness for multiple sclerosis.
Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway is a 150-mile bike ride that goes from Boston to Provincetown on Cape Cod. This race is the largest MS ride in New England. Dumas has been participating in the ride for more than 10 years.
There are influences behind Dumas’ participation in the races other than her love for the sport. She rides for an aunt who has MS as well as a resident and co-workers.
“I have a BUFF® (headband) that I carry with me that I write everyone’s name on that I know has MS,” said Dumas. “Currently, there are also two employees at Life Care Center of Auburn who I ride for as well.”
Dumas originally started doing the MS bike rides when she was in her 20s; she is now in her 40s. She estimates that she has participated in 15 races.
“For me, it is a way to kick-start my summer,” said Dumas.
Dumas explained that the race is a well-organized ride and she often rides with a team. She said everyone involved with the race is very friendly and enthusiastic. Every 12-15 miles, racers will find rest stops as well as food, drinks, music and massages offered at the finish line.
Along with the race’s cause and the beautiful scenery, other motivations push Dumas throughout a race. While racing, many riders and volunteers surround her who have MS themselves. This inspires her to pedal harder.
“It is amazing to see people with MS who do the ride wearing special jerseys that say, ‘I Ride with MS,” said Dumas. “For me, that is inspiring. I can’t complain that I am hot, tired or sore, knowing that someone with MS is doing the same ride as me. It is an amazing feeling that you can only experience by biking it.”
When asked her opinion on whether or not society is as informed about MS as it should be, Dumas, as well as the resident she rides for, share a similar opinion: it is not. Dumas rides with the hope that this will change in the near future.
“If I can make people more aware of MS by doing this bike ride once a year, then I have done my job,” said Dumas.
The money raised from the race so far has helped drive MS research forward faster toward discovering a cure and more effective treatments. The money raised also goes to programs and services offered to those who face the challenges of MS every day.
The team Dumas is on has raised more than $83,000 for this ride, and she is currently $195 away from reaching her goal of $1,000. To donate to her ride, search: Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway 2017. Then click on “menu” and then “donate.”
“MS is a terrible, debilitating disease that people live with for a long time and who are often diagnosed at a young age,” said Dumas. “If my pedaling 150 miles can help one person and educate one more person, then I have done my job.”