Cyclists to Ride from 850 Miles for MSA and The Multiple System Atrophy Coalition
Two cyclists will ride more than 850 miles this summer to raise awareness of multiple system atrophy (MSA), a rare neurological disease that took the life of a loved one.
Neil Versel and Malcolm Versel will bike from Neil's home in Chicago to Washington, D.C., in memory of their father and brother, respectively. Mark Versel, of suburban Washington, died in May 2012 at age 68 due to MSA. To honor Mark, the tour is being called Make Your Mark: MSA Awareness Tour 2014.
Along the way, Neil and Malcolm will stop in the home towns of other families touched by MSA, which has no known cause, no effective treatments and is always fatal. The Versels will be spreading the message about this terrible disease, as well as raising money for The Multiple System Atrophy Coalition and related MSA organizations.
Make Your Mark: MSA Awareness Tour 2014 will begin on Friday, July 4, 2014 along Chicago's lakefront, and will conclude Monday, July 14, 2014, at the United States Capitol. Other riders are welcome to join for the first leg, 46 miles to Hobart, Ind., in exchange for a minimum $25 donation to The MSA Coalition. Riders also are invited to ride the final two legs, from Hagerstown, Md., to Rockville, Md. (58 miles), on Sunday, July 13, and 23 miles from Rockville to Capitol Hill in Washington the following day, in exchange for a donation.
"The MSA Coalition is very excited to support this tour," says Judy Biedenharn, President. "Multiple system atrophy is largely unknown to the general public, so this event will make a big impact in generating greater awareness. Neil and Malcolm have planned a very grueling itinerary, symbolic of the difficult journey that Mark Versel faced during his illness. We wish them lots of luck and look forward to following their progress in July."
Dysautonomia International, a group dedicated to assisting people living with disorders of the autonomic nervous system - including MSA - will be hosting Dysautonomia Lobby Day on Capitol Hill Monday, July 14. Dysautonomia Lobby Day participants will be meeting with members of Congress to seek increased federal funding for research into MSA and other forms of dysautonomia, as well as insurance reimbursement for autonomic testing, which has become a problem with some insurers since last year.
Dysautonomia International President Lauren Stiles, Esq., notes, "We are delighted to have members of The MSA Coalition with us on Capitol Hill again this year. Individually, the different types of dysautonomia may be rare, but collectively, they are not rare at all. When we work together to have our message heard in Washington, it benefits everyone."
Events are being planned for July 5 in Kokomo, Ind., July 7 in Kettering, Ohio, July 8 in Columbus, Ohio, July 10 in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and July 13 in Rockville, Md. All are home to families affected by MSA.
The riders are currently looking for sponsors to defray the costs of the tour and raise additional funds for MSA research and support. Sponsors may have their logos displayed on rider jerseys, tour T-shirts, a rider support vehicle or at local events.
For more information about the cycling tour, please visit http://MSAtour.net and "like" our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MakeYourMarkforMSA.