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Saturday, August 27, 2016

i-Ride4.com, a Charity Bike Ride across Pennsylvania’s Scenic Route 6

Bill Ludwick
Cycling enthusiast turns his passion for family and two wheels into a challenge to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis and Narcolepsy.

Bill Ludwick, a Pennsylvania native announces i-Ride4.com, a one-man, 8 day bicycle ride across Pennsylvania. The ride will start in the early morning hours of September 9th at the northern Pennsylvania/New Jersey border, and will journey along Pennsylvania’s Route 6; the longest highway segment in the Commonwealth, ending in Bill’s hometown of Titusville, Pennsylvania. The goal of the 450-mile ride is to educate, raise awareness, and funds to fight Multiple Sclerosis and Narcolepsy/Cataplexy. There is currently no cure. The need for funds for research, more effective treatments and ultimately, a cure, is crucial.

A few years ago, on a particularly hard ride, Bill found himself thinking about the hardships that his sister who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1993, and his son who was diagnosed with Narcolepsy-Cataplexy in 2013 have had to endure. “I realized the pain and suffering I was experiencing was just a moment in time and would soon pass. I also knew that I was in complete control; I could slow down, or even stop at any time. Unfortunately, that is not the case for anyone with MS or Narcolepsy. Since that day, I have thought about how I could make just a little difference for them, and to all those that cope with medical hardships every day. 

 Last October, I decided the best way for me to honor them and raise awareness was on my bike. I chose Pennsylvania Route 6 because of its unique, small town history, heritage, and breathtaking scenery. It was also important for me to end my trip in Titusville, my boyhood town. To me, Titusville represents family and community, both of which are needed to defeat any disease. Route 6 spans the entire country, and it would be great if this could grow into a national relay event.”

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system, which interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. The immune system attacks tissue and cells within the central nervous system, and causes damage to nerve connections resulting in neurological symptoms. These can include extreme fatigue, impaired vision, problems with balance and walking, numbness or pain and other sensory changes, bladder and bowel symptoms, tremors, problems with memory and concentration, mood changes, and more. Anyone may develop MS but women are at least two to three times more likely than men to develop MS. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although an estimated 8,000–10,000 children under the age of 18 also live with MS, and people as old as 75 have developed it. An estimated 2.3 million people live with MS worldwide.

Narcolepsy is a life-long disorder of the central nervous system characterized by the brain's inability to control sleep-wake cycles. At various times throughout the day, people with narcolepsy experience irresistible and sudden bouts of sleep, which can last from a few seconds to several minutes. This sleepiness is similar to how non-narcoleptics feel when going without sleep for 48-72 hours. Other major symptoms may include Cataplexy which is a sudden loss of voluntary muscle tone, vivid dream-like images or hallucinations during sleep onset or when waking, and brief episodes of total paralysis, also during sleep onset or when waking. 

Narcolepsy affects both males and female equally. It most often starts in childhood or adolescence. Narcolepsy is not rare, but it is an under-recognized and under-diagnosed condition. More than 200,000 Americans and 3 million people worldwide are living with narcolepsy.

i-Ride4 will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Wake Up Narcolepsy. Both organizations are 501(c)3 nonprofit foundations established to provide education and support to patients and their caregivers, and to raise funds to research causes, treatments and cures. For more information on these organizations, go to http://www.nationalmssociety.org and https://www.wakeupnarcolepsy.org. To make a donation and/or follow Bill along on his ride, please visit http://www.i-ride4.com.


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