Allegan’s Owen Hunt and Margie Bradley have teamed up to raise money for multiple sclerosis research and patients as part of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Bike MS effort.
According to the society, MS is an unpredictable disease that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.
Bike MS participants gather sponsors for 100-plus-mile rides nationwide.
Locally, Bradley is working on the fundraising portion of the ride while Hunt is preparing to bike 100 miles Saturday, June 8.
The couple was at a health fair in Grand Rapids when they learned about the ride.
Hunt has been an avid biker for several years. Bradley’s friend Kevin Butcher, of Dorr, was diagnosed with MS approximately 10 years ago.
“It was kind of meant to be,” Bradley said. “The people at the booth were so enthusiastic and it felt like a great way to support Kevin.”
Bradley and Butcher both attend Christ Community Church, which is where the majority of fundraising has taken place.
“He is just such a great guy; this is the least we can do to support him,” Bradley said.
Hunt said it was a goal of his to complete a century ride—a ride of 100 miles—this year so it made perfect sense to support this “worthy cause at the same time.”
“It’s something I can do in order to help someone and get my 100 miles at the same time,” he said. “It just seemed like a really good idea.”
Previously, Hunt’s longest ride was 76 miles, completed last year on his 76th birthday.
“I rode 50 miles yesterday (Sunday, June 1) to get my legs in shape and everything. I think I’ll be ready,” he said.
In order to complete the ride, a rider must have at least $250 to donate to the organization.
Bradley said prior to June 1 she had approximately $275 collected, but she has not yet received the money donated this past Sunday at the church.
“It’s one of those things that, once it has touched your life personally, you want to do something to help,” she said.
Butcher said he is very flattered to have this done in his honor.
“It is so often the people unaffected who raise the money and awareness and I think it is great there are people willing to do it,” he said. “I am very much honored that somebody would take the time out to do this.”
Butcher said he hopes a result of their efforts will be patients being helped or finding a cure and he wants to thank everyone who contributed to their efforts financially or otherwise.
The ride, which has a one-or-two-day option, officially begins in Holland and goes to Saugatuck and Fennville with the two-day riders spending the night at Hope College before heading towards Grand Haven.
Hunt will complete his 100 miles with a one-day ride.
Butcher said he is excited for the ride and plans to go to Holland with Bradley to see Hunt off.