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Ride for MS awareness

Wednesday, 16th May, 2012

KISS GOODBYE TO MS: John Walker and his wife Mary in the city yesterday after cycling here from Manly. KISS GOODBYE TO MS: John Walker and his wife Mary in the city yesterday after cycling here from Manly.

By Emily Roberts

Multiple Sclerosis is the most common neurological condition for young people in the country and one man has ridden almost 1900 kilometres to spread the message.

As part of MS Awareness Month, John Walker rode his bicycle from Manly to Broken Hill in a trip he called “Breakers to Borders”.

“I cycled from Manly, Sydney through Goulburn, Yass, Mildura up through Peterborough into Broken Hill,” John said.

“It was 1855 kilometres and I rode solo.”

John’s wife Mary, his “support crew”, followed him in a car.

“I was doing it all to raise money for MS,” he said.

John also kept an online blog about his trials.

“When I reached different towns I would pick out things to help promote them in my daily blog. I was trying to show people there was no need to go overseas. You can just go to country towns,” he said.

John said he chose to ride for MS because life had been good to him and he felt the need to give something back.

“I do what I can to help.

“I had a passion for cycling. I looked into doing something for charity.”

John said he had always been fairly active and enjoyed mountain biking and cycling.

While in Broken Hill he has visited the Flying Doctor base, Silverton and had a look around the city.

“We had a look at the RFDS and I am very impressed. You get more of an insight to it and they do a great job,” he said.

So far he has raised $13,000 but he expects it to keep growing once people know he has finished the ride.

“All the money raised will 100 per cent go to MS,” he said.

“I am very proud to have done this for MS Australia. They opened their hearts to Mary and I, they treated us like family members. They kept track of us. We didn’t expect that and I would certainly do it again.”

MS is an incurable disease of the central nervous system, with an age of diagnosis between 20 and 40 and 75 per cent of people with MS are women. MS symptoms include walking difficulties, extreme pain, slurring of speech and visual problems.

Chief Executive Officer of MS Australia - ACT/NSW/VIC Jim Carroll said one in 20 Australians will be affected by multiple sclerosis - through their daughters, mothers, brothers or friends.

“It’s a cruel disease that hits young women when they’re building their careers, starting their families and have the world at their feet,” he said.

“We’re calling on people across the country to show their support during May so we can make their lives better through the right treatment and support and continue the search for a cure.”

You can participate in MS Month by wearing red lipstick, a red lipsticker on your collar, or by making a donation. “Kiss Goodbye to MS” events are being held across the country. To get involved visit www.kissgoodbyetoms.org or go to the “Kiss Goodbye to MS” on Facebook for more details. 

To visit John’s blog go to www.kissgoodbyetoms.org/community/individuals/john-walker.

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