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Bike to Bordeaux cyclists bike to help MS

Mike Tomlin had symptoms for two years before he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, or MS, a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system.
Amy Gladfelter, of Eldersburg, started getting symptoms her freshman year of college. Her trainer thought it was a vitamin deficiency, but nothing worked, she said.
Finally, she got an MRI. Eventually, Tomlin got one too.
"It was kind of a relief, because I didn't know what was wrong with me for two years," Tomlin said.
Though the two are unrelated, their experiences are similar. And today, both will be participating in Bike MS: Bike to Bordeaux.
Bike to Bordeaux, which is sponsored by the National MS Society, is a 16-, 36- or 65-mile bike ride which begins and ends at Linganore Winecellars in Mount Airy. It will go through Carroll and Frederick counties and conclude with lunch and wine tasting at the finish line for the cyclists.
About 250 people from cyclists to volunteers will be participating in today's event.
Melissa Ward, a media spokesperson for the National MS Society, said the mix of participants can vary from people who have MS to those who just like to cycle. She compared it to other events like walks.
"Bike events are a little bit different," she said. "Walking is a little more accessible in that it's not just for the athletes."
Gladfelter said because she's always been an athlete, MS hasn't affected her much. She was diagnosed right before her junior year of college, where she was on the lacrosse team at Duquesne University.
"It never slowed me down. I didn't miss a game in college," she said.
Tomlin said exercise has improved his MS. When he started cycling, he lost weight, but it also improved a slur he had in his speech and helps him think clearer, he said.
MS affects 2.1 million people worldwide, according to the National MS Society. Some symptoms include fatigue, numbness, balance and coordination problems, dizziness and cognitive dysfunction.
He said he got involved with Bike MS in 2009, and rode his first 100-mile race in 2011. Since then, he rides a 100-mile race every year and has cycled as many as 150 miles, he said.
"I have some numbness on my right side from the MS, so I really have to be mindful of my limitations. I have to listen to my body," he said.
While Tomlin lives in Hagerstown, he said he grew up near Taylorsville, so Bike to Bordeaux is fun for him.
"It's kind of like biking in my backyard," he said.
Tomlin said he knows his diagnosis has been a blessing, because he is still able to cycle. He hopes to bring a little bit of hope to others, he said.
Gladfelter said she hopes to find a cure to MS in her lifetime or her children's lifetime. Cycling a few miles to raise awareness and money is just a way to contribute.
"Also just to prove it can't stop you," she said.

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