It’s often said, “ ‘Tis a pleasure to live in Colorado.” And it is. We have some of the best quality of life of anywhere in the world. But one odd blemish that researchers have yet to fully understand is why we have a higher incidence of multiple sclerosis than most anywhere else.
MS is a terrible disease that attacks the central nervous system and currently affects 400,000 Americans. Ninety-five hundred Coloradans suffer from MS. No one really knows why it hits us harder, but there is evidence that MS happens more frequently at our longitude and at higher elevations. Regardless of the reason, many if not most Colorado residents are either directly affected by the disease or know someone who is.
My brother-in-law has a particularly debilitating form of the disease that has caused severe brain damage, made him an invalid and robbed my sister of a husband and my nieces of a father. As so many Coloradans have multiple sclerosis, it is very personal for many of us.
Just over a year ago, MS hit too close to home in Evergreen when the Craig family’s now 15-year-old younger daughter, Heather, was diagnosed with the disease. We first became friends with the Craigs because our daughters played on competing soccer teams and were in Girl Scouts together. Carl Craig was an Evergreen firefighter. The family is committed to being an asset to our community. They are nice people to whom we were immediately drawn.
As with many families who have been afflicted by MS, in addition to looking for ways to help Heather, the Craigs have become fund-raisers to help find a cure for the disease. Extensive research has put a cure within reach, and additional resources should put us over the top. For many years, the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society has sponsored the MS 150, a 150-mile bike ride in which participants seek sponsors to contribute based upon their completion of the ride. Carl raised more than $15,000 in the 2010 ride, and he and his Evergreen-based “Some Nerve” team will be riding again next month.
I urge all of you to participate in this important cause. To encourage you, I will match 10 percent, up to $500, for every dollar pledged to Carl and the Some Nerve team in May. If you log onto the MS150 website at http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR and enter either Carl Craig’s name or the Some Nerve team name, you may contribute online. You can also contribute by sending a check (enter the Some Nerve name on the notation line) to National MS Society, Bike MS Colorado, P.O. Box 172685, Denver, CO 80217-2685.
While there are many deserving causes and charities to which we can contribute, finding a cure for multiple sclerosis is a very important and compelling concern. I hope you will join me in supporting our local team in the MS 150.
Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie, and three daughters.