Taking the challenge

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Instead of standing on the sidelines, Westminster resident Jeannie Saur will be crossing the finish line of the upcoming Colorado-Wyoming Chapter, National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Newmont Bike MS ride.

She’s used to cheering on her husband Andrew, who has participated in the race for many years, but this year she’s taken the challenge and will riding for a cause that not only effects one in 400 Coloradans, but her personally.

Jeannie’s first MS episode was the night before her wedding day, followed by another episode the next summer. Both episodes affected her eyes. She was eventually diagnosed in 1996.

She said she chose to do the MS ride to challenge herself physically and to no longer be a fixture on the sidelines.

“There are a lot of times with MS that you can start to put yourself in a box, and I just wanted to challenge that notion,” she said. “To actually cross the finish line with my husband, rather than just watch him cross the finish line is great.”

The Newmont Bike MS ride will be June 29-30 and starts and ends at Front Range Community College in Westminster.

It is a 150-mile bike ride and more than 3,000 cyclists will ride together to raise $3.6 million for research to help find a cure for MS, a disease that affects the central nervous system. Jeannie is getting a little help and support for her first ride. She’s riding tandem with her husband Andrew and will also be accompanied by her 13-year-old son Gordon, who is riding solo and is also her training partner.

Jeannie said it’s been inspiring to watch her son dedicate himself to training by never giving up, even on the longest rides. But for Gordon, he just wants to be part of something that can not only help his family, but many other families dealing with MS.

“I want to find a cure for MS because my family and other families have to deal with the impact of the disease when they least expect it,” he said.

Training for the Saur family hasn’t been as smooth as Jeannie has hoped.

Not too long ago she had a serious MS episode that affected her ability to walk which took her out of commission for a while. But as soon as she was capable, Jeannie was back on her bike training when she could. She said this experience has taught her that she is capable of doing physical things even with her MS and that when she sets a goal, she can reach it.

“Whatever training we’ve gotten in, we’ve gotten in and we’re as prepared as we are going to be for that day, so now it’s just time to enjoy it,” Jeannie said. “I don’t cross finish lines, I’m not into those kinds of events so to cross the finish line as the three of us is going to be really awesome.”

The Saur family will be riding with the Left Hand Brewing team, which is a Bike MS sponsor and a top fundraising team that will surpassed the $200,000 cumulative mark this year.

For more information on the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter, National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Newmont Bike MS ride, visit www.cureMSco-wy.org.

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