KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A metro man is completing his 50th Bike MS ride this weekend for a cause that's close to his heart: His wife is living with multiple sclerosis.
“Back in 1984, I started doing the ride because I liked to volunteer and I liked to cycle, so I thought, 'Well, it`s a good combination," David Eaton said. "So for a number of years I rode it, and I got to meet more and more people that had MS, so I was getting to where it was personal."
But after a decade of participating in Bike MS with no initial personal connection to the disease -- David met his wife, Linda, who happened to be living with multiple sclerosis.
“I got to learn more and more about some of the things she goes through on a daily basis and some of the struggles that she has that we just take for granted,” David said.
“My husband is my rock. He supports me in everything I do, not just for MS,” Linda said.
David said it became a personal mission to do what he could to improve the lives of those living with MS.
“It just means everything to me to be able to lean on him if I need to,” Linda said.
This weekend, David will celebrate completing his 50th Bike MS ride with 1,500 other cyclists hoping to raise more than $1 million for the National MS Society.
Linda will ride the last 5 miles of the ride in-tandem with her husband as a special finish line memory for the two of them.
“We actually did this for the first time back in 2012. She waited a ways out, and I would ride my single bike until I got to her. And then we would swap out to our tandem, and we would finish together. And it was, quite honestly, one of my favorite memories of all my rides. Having her along and bringing her across, at that point, her first finish line was amazing,” David said.
“Load me on it, clip my feet in, so that I don`t have to do anything. I mean, I ride with him. He keeps me upright, and I don`t fall over, and it`s just a lot of fun,” Linda added.
The Eatons are trying to raise awareness because there`s still no cure for the disease.
“You meet so many people who have MS and that live with people in their family who have MS, and that awareness is huge,” Linda said. “There`s always something that they can do to help that person, to support them.”
Bike MS benefits people living with MS and raises money to fund research and different programs and services.
- WHEN: Sept. 22-23, cyclists take off at 7 a.m. both days.
- WHERE: Garmin headquarters in Olathe to Douglas County Fairgrounds in Lawrence
- ROUTE OPTIONS: 37-, 65- OR 100-mile options on Saturday and 38- or 66 mile options on Sunday.
- PARTICIPATION/VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION: bikems.org, 855-372-1331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.