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Quincy woman with MS cycling to support the cause

GREG DERR/The Patriot Ledger |  Susan Evensen Tena of Quincy is set to bike 95 miles to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. She has taken part in a number of fundraising rides during the past decade, but now she is riding to find a cure for multiple sclerosis, with which she was diagnosed last year. The photo was taken on Sunday, July 26, 2015.

Susan Evensen Tena discovered her passion for bike riding in 2004, after getting a dose of inspiration from well-known charity bicyclist Bobby Mac of Arlington.

Since then, Evensen Tena, of Quincy, has cycled hundreds of miles to benefit a handful of causes – from HIV and cystic fibrosis research to children’s literacy programs.

Next weekend, the 35-year-old social worker will pedal 95 miles over two days for herself – and the 2.3 million other people around the world living with multiple sclerosis.

“About a year ago, a close friend from cycling said, ‘Next year, we’re doing an MS ride,’” Evensen Tena recalled from her Quincy apartment. “Cycling helps me feel more strong and confident. It helps to build my strength back, and I find a real sense of community in cycling.”

Evensen Tena will join hundreds of other riders in Burlington, Vermont, for the Bike MS: Green Mountain Getaway, which raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

MS is an unpredictable and often-disabling disease of the central nervous system. It interrupts the flow of information between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.

The cause of MS is still unknown, and while there are treatment options, there is still no cure.

Evensen Tena received her diagnosis a year ago, after her first multiple sclerosis attack landed her in the hospital for several days.

“The attack resulted in half my body going numb, so my balance was affected, and it took several months to resolve,” she said. “I was using a cane when I got out of the hospital.”

Around the same time, Mac, Evensen Tena’s friend and mentor, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Evensen Tena and other cyclists formed Team Bobby Mac to ride next weekend in his memory.

“So far, physically, I’m pretty healthy,” Evensen Tena said. “Right now, the symptoms are fairly minimal, and I feel lucky about that.”

On top of raising funds for MS research and treatment, Evensen Tena will raise awareness about the disease through a program called I Ride with MS. She will wear a special “I Ride With MS” cycling jersey to encourage other riders to talk with her about the disease and offer hope for those facing a diagnosis.

“Many people with MS are living their lives, doing charity rides and staying active,” she said.

Evensen Tena said she jokes with fellow cyclists about how much easier fundraising is now that she has the disease she’s riding for.

“People want to show you that they care about you versus just caring about the cause,” she said. “People have been very generous.”

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by PATRIOTLEDGER
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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