I’m back! In 2012 I wrote that that would be my last Bike MS Ride to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I mostly was tired of asking my friends for money when I know how much we are all bombarded with requests for help from various good doing organizations. Many of you wrote back saying “no, no – we are glad you are doing this!” and would remind me of their friend or aunt or even spouse who had MS. I realized that maybe it was a good thing to keep doing but then circumstances changed. That December my mother fell and broke her hip. She never really recovered from surgery and developed severe dementia and was unable to move again until she finally passed away just 4 days ago. For those 3 1/2 plus years I hardly got on my bike at all and had little time to think about fundraising for an organization. In the years prior to her illness I was averaging about 1,000 miles a year on the bike. In 2013 and 2014 – ZERO miles. In all of 2015 I rode 52 miles. In the past year I’ve noticed that my health – both physical and mental – has been taking a nosedive. Being on the bike training for the MS rides and just biking for pleasure with friends was keeping me healthy in more ways than I knew. Earlier this year I made the commitment and signed up for Bike MS once again more for my own health – I knew I would have to start riding regularly to get back in shape – than anything else. But the fact remains that I still have friends living with MS and recently some of them have declining faster. Not to mention the many people I will never know that this organization helps. I’ve been able to get back on the bike some this year but caring for my mom and the emotional stress involved has made it hard to get back in the habit of taking care of myself. I’ve managed to log 250 miles so far this year but hardly enough to do the century (100 mile route) ride at Bike MS. Karen and I will probably do one of the shorter routes each day this year – hopefully at least 50 miles each day. The event is in less than 2 weeks! As you can see I’m a little behind in fundraising! We ride out of New Bern, NC on Sept 10 and 11. We’ll be able to continue fundraising for some time after that (I can’t remember the cutoff date at this point) in case you don’t see this until after the ride. The Bike MS campaign funds research and provides services for people living with MS – over 18,000 in the Carolinas alone. Fundraising dollars are used to support those affected by MS with educational programs, help groups, medical equipment loans, financial assistance, wellness programs, care management, respite care and direct assistance. A donation in any amount is appreciated but no need to apologize for not being able to contribute – I totally understand!!! But donation or not, thank you for your support! My Donation Page: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/robbielink2016 Or you may mail a check made out to National MS Society to my address and I will submit it. Contact me by email and I’ll send you the address.