Ocean/Monmouth County - The MS Great 8 ride will roll into Freehold on Thursday, August 12 as the only stop in New Jersey on their eight day, eight state journey to raise awareness and critical funds to support those affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). The MS Great 8 Foundation has spent the last three years cycling around America; 8 states per year raising both public awareness and over a quarter-of-a-million dollars for the National MS Society in the battle to end Multiple Sclerosis. This year, Co-Presidents Mike Zimits who has been diagnosed with MS for nearly 12 years and Catherine Tsigakos who has been her brother's caregiver for over 20, want their foundation to spread the word in an even bigger way... with an even bigger program ....with one epic event: Cycling from Washington D.C. to Boston in eight day.
"We want to tell America that the Multiple Sclerosis Society needs their help", says Catherine Tsigakos. "We want let them know that more than one person an hour is being diagnosed with MS in America today. We also want to let them know that with their help, we can find a cure. And, we want to inspire those living with Multiple Sclerosis, like Mike, to believe in their future ... and to not let MS rob them of their lives' passions and dreams."
To that end, they have organized their largest ride to date: The Great 8 - 8 State Tour. This tour begins at our nation's capital in Washington D.C. on August 10th and continues north to its finish near Boston at the North American Headquarters of presenting sponsor, EMD Serono, on August 17th. The New Jersey stop will be at the MS Wellness Center at CentratState Medical Center in Freehold. Cyclists are expected to arrive at 4pm.
This year the MS Great 8 Cyclists are joined by local Brick Township resident Dene O'Connor. Mr. O'Connor has been involved with the local MS bike rides for the past nine years. He has not only raised money and cycled in the New Jersey Metro Chapter's "Coast the Coast" MS ride but also does much of the route planning for the event. "I am so thankful I got involved with National MS Society, as I am learning how debilitating the disease can be" says Mr. O'Connor. He goes on to say, "With someone being newly diagnosed every hour of every day it is imperative to make others aware of the devastating effects of MS. I am fortunate enough to be healthy to be able to participate in the challenging, informative MS events and hope that one day there will be a cure."