The Okanagan chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada will stage the third annual Okanagan Grape Escape in the Central Okanagan this weekend.
Cyclists who have raised a minimum of $300 are invited to select wineries, vineyards, farms and boutique beverage venues for complimentary tastings. Each day starts and finishes at the RONA, located on Springfield Road in Kelowna.
Jennifer Walters says she was inspired to participate in the ride by her mother. “My mom was diagnosed with MS 33 years ago, before I was born. I’m happy to be able to say that she is doing quite well despite the disease and can still get around,” she says.
“When the time comes in the ride when my eighth wind is exhausted and my muscles (and bum!) were terribly sore I am able to keep going with the thought that if my mom could push that hard every day just to climb a flight of stairs, the least I could do is get through two days.
“Each year I still feel overwhelmed and inspired by the generosity, support and dedication of my friends and family, every sponsor, every rider, every volunteer and every organizer.”
In Canada, one person in two knows someone with MS, says Tracy Tremble, chair of the Okanagan chapter of the MS Society.
“It’s a disease that has a long-term effect on families in Canada. We have one of the highest rates in the world.”
Canada is also a world leader in MS research, she notes, and the MS Society is the single largest funder of MS research in Canada.
The Okanagan Grape Escape is part of the largest cycling series in Canada the MS Bike Tour. It is one of two major fundraisers for the Okanagan chapter of the MS Society. This fundraisers hope to raise $35,000, money that allows the MS Society to provide free programs and services including the Equipment Provision Program to help those living with MS in the Okanagan chapter area. Funds raised also support leading MS research to find the cause and a cure for MS.