Sam Wills could have given up when his wife, Lessie, died of complications from multiple sclerosis. But he decided he wanted to make a difference in her memory.
So on Sunday, he helped organize a motorcycling event that raised more than $5,000 to help MS patients in Oklahoma.
For the seventh straight year, as part of the Thunder Run motorcycle rally in Oklahoma City, Wills and the Downed Bikers Association staged Lessie’s Run. The event is a “poker run,” where bikers ride to different sites to draw cards. At the end of the run, the riders with the best hands win prizes.
This year’s event drew in more than 1,000 bikers. Proceeds from the event went to The MS Bridge, a local organization providing assistance to Oklahoma multiple sclerosis patients.
“We wanted to do something to help with MS, but we wanted to keep it local, to help Oklahomans,” said Wills. “We know that no one group is going to solve the problem, but we just want to help.”
According to Kelly Brown, director of The MS Bridge, the funds will go to support patients statewide who are seeking treatment for the disease, including those at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence, which opened last month.
“This new center is a tremendous resource for MS patients in Oklahoma,” said Brown. “With the help of the Downed Bikers Association, The MS Bridge is glad to give support to multiple sclerosis patients and excited that they have access to the cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art patient care the MS Center of Excellence brings to Oklahoma.”
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory, degenerative disease of the central nervous system. It affects about 400,000 Americans and 2 million people worldwide.