LGBT and MS Communities Connect for Bike MS: City to Shore Ride
Matt Laskowski (pictured, above) was all set to ride in the Bike MS: City to Shore Ride, the annual event that raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This would be his third year taking part in the event, and it promised to be his most-rewarding yet. He had blown past his $15K donation goal, and he had nearly doubled his riding team, which he named Voyager, “based on the Star Trek show about a crew of people with little to no experience working for the common goal of traveling farther than they ever have.” Yes, he was pumped and ready to roll, but just two weeks away from the day of the race a wrench was thrown into his plans when his bike was stolen from the front of his house.
Immediately, he took to Facebook to lament his loss and ask if anyone would be willing to lend him a replacement. His status caught the eye of National MS Society Development Coordinator Laurie Zerumsky, who also shared it on her wall. Within minutes she was bombarded with comments, private messages, texts and emails from people asking how they could help Matt get back in the race. “Seeing so many people offer their extra bikes or giving advice on where to find one for the ride felt phenomenal,” Matt says. But out of all the responses, it was one from a lady named Allison Coia that stuck out to him most.
“When I saw Allison’s offer … I was immediately drawn to it because of the brand ‘Trek,'” which he says reminded him of a Trek mountain bike he got for Christmas as a kid. But what he didn’t realize at first was that Allison has been living with MS for over a decade and, for the interest of our readers, is an out and proud lesbian. After a few back and forths, Matt decided to borrow Allison’s bike, not so much for the chance to secure a set of wheels, but it gave him a whole new reason for riding. See, during his conversation with Allison, he learned that she has a sister in Virginia who is also living with MS, but in a far more advanced stage. That’s when he decided that, “I’m dedicating my ride this year to each of them.”
So now he’s all set again — with new spokes and an extra dose of inspiration that he says didn’t so much change his approach to the ride, but “remind me how generous and thoughtful people can be when we work together for a worthy cause.” He takes off on Sat., Sept. 28 with what will perhaps be the gayest team on the road. Voyager is comprised of a mix of LGBTers and straight allies, and sponsored by local gay-owned social-media and marketing firm ChatterBlast, which, naturally, hooked the team up with “some of the best looking team jerseys out there.”
To lend your support to Matt and his fabulous team, you can donate here. And check out the promo video for Voyager below.
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