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In 1984 I came upon a flyer promoting a bike ride that was being organized to raise money to fight a disease that I never heard of called multiple sclerosis. Upon completing the ride I had the opportunity to speak with several people about the disease and learned that Maine has one of the highest incident rates for MS in the country. I also learned that the disease had often been misdiagnosed and that there was little treatment for the afflicted. 2014 will mark the 30th anniversary of this ride and believe it or not I've been there for all of them. It is now called the Great Maine Getaway, a two day biking event that last year raised over $340.000 in the fight against MS. Since 1984 I've met quite a few people with this disease and I'm always struck by their positive attitudes and sense of optimism. They have seen the considerable progress that has been made in the fight against MS thanks in no small part to all the money invested in research. Money that events such as this has raised over the years.

For instance there is an increasing understanding of the role that malfunctioning mitochondria plays in damaging the nervous system and this opens up new possibilities for preventing that damage. Two mouse studies showed the potential of stem cell derived from the skin for growing new myelin and reducing nervous system damage. Recently a global consortium identified 48 MS risk genes which better define the biological pathways leading to MS. We are told that this may ultimately lead to a prevention of the disease and enhance the design of better treatments.

All this news is very encouraging and it keeps me going back to this event year after year. I'll be riding over 150 miles on August 9-10 and hopefully each dollar I raise will bring us closer to a cure. If you would like to donate to this cause you can do so by going to my personal web page at the link below. That gorgeous woman I'm with is my wife Debbie. She will be riding as well. Any amount that you can afford will make the ride all the more worthwhile. Join me, and together we can create a world free of MS.

All the best, Joe Cupo

Go to my personal page and make a secure, online donation:

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/JoeCupo

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