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Mike Davis and his team after the MS 150

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The Texas MS 150

Biking for a cause

For those of you who don’t know, the Texas MS 150 is one of the many annual bike rides that aims to fundraise money for the National MS Society. The first ride took place in Minneapolis in 1980, and since then has grown into a national ride with chapters all across the United States. The Texas ride spans over a course of 2 days and covers around 150-170 miles of road. Starting in Houston on May 2nd, thousands of riders will begin their journey to Bryan, Texas, and end the ride on A&M University’s historic Kyle Field. If you’re anything like me and find the sheer number of miles intimidating, fear not! There are a plethora of other ways to get involved. Volunteering opportunities are abundant, but if you can’t find room in your schedule for that, donating online is easy and lets you directly choose where you want your money to go. 

But, if you are up for the challenge, may I present two sources of great inspiration whom you might already know. Lisa Sailor and Mike Davis. Lisa Sailor has been on the board of the MS Society for two years now, has given multiple lectures, and has done the MS 15O herself five times. One standout fundraiser and MS diagnosee (although she is much more than her diagnosis) worth mentioning is the vibrant, pink-haired, Lisa Sailor. She and her husband have raised around $300,000 for the cause. Lisa has been on the board of the MS Society for about two years now. Her husband, Mike Sailor, has participated in the MS 150 bike rides for 13 years now, and in 2019, Lisa rode her first TexasMS 150, all because of her diagnosis 26 years prior. Lisa’s story has touched many lives, especially to those who share her diagnosis, although the symptoms may not be the same. Some of those living with MS have heard its pet name, the “Snowflake disease” which refers to the uniqueness of every snowflake, and how MS affects each person in a different way. Although we might find this nickname endearing, the disease is anything but that. Lisa’s story is one of perseverance, motivation, and courage. Because of her outgoing and vivacious personality that shines through when she speaks, it is hard to imagine the struggles that Lisa went through when she began to feel and exhibit symptoms of multiple sclerosis. 

I was lucky enough to speak to Lisa one-on-one, although I am sure if any of you are lucky enough to hear her speak, you will feel the same kind of inspiration that I felt. While speaking with her, she informed me that women are more likely to be diagnosed with MS (2:1) than men are. Lisa’s symptoms began with optic neuritis and quickly morphed into slurred speech, and eventually, losing mobility and feeling on her left side, which resulted in Lisa using a wheelchair, although she is not confined to one. The story of her diagnosis is one that Lisa has told many times, but she stresses something to me that makes my heart break:

“Do not make this about me. I am using my voice for those who are no longer with us; those whom we have lost to the disease and those who are no longer able to use their voice. Those are the voices I care about. Those are the people I ride for.”

Lisa’s heart shines through even at her darkest moments of doubt. She is a perfect example of determination when it comes to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. You could end up having the best bike ride of your life.

The second great source of encouragement for the Texas MS 150 is Mike Davis. Mike has been an avid bike rider all his life, although he stressed to me that the MS 150 is not something you necessarily need to train for- it is not a competitive atmosphere, it is a group journey that will give you lifelong friends and lifelong memories. Mike’s words and stories about his bike rides are yet another example of how crucial community is when it comes to feelings of self-doubt during this process. “Nothing comes close to the feeling you get when you cross the finish line. With your whole team around you, and onlookers cheering you on. It’s euphoric.” 

Mike’s passion for the cause and the bike ride itself is downright electric, and it’s so contagious that he has almost convinced me to sign up for this year’s ride. 

These two very special and inspiring individuals are only a small portion of the amazing community that has been formed in the name of eliminating MS, preventing MS from affecting people, and curing those who have already been diagnosed with MS. It is a perfect example of what it looks like when differences are all set aside and the greater good and well being of your neighbor is a shared priority. I hope that their passions and stories touched you as they did me, and I hope that there is the possibility of a bike ride in your near future. 

  • Mike Davis and his team after the MS 150
  • Lisa and Mike Sailor pose outside their apartment
  • Mike Davis
  • Lisa Sailor