Local resident to ride 52 miles to raise funds for MS

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By Angye Morrison

When Keith Andrews of Quincy decided he wanted to get into better shape, he determined that the icing on his physical condition “cupcake” would be helping others.

Several years ago, Andrews’ wife rode in a bike ride for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, and he decided he’d go the same route. Last year, he biked the same ride, a 100-mile ride around Lake Tahoe, and raised $5,400. His wife raised $3,500 the year she rode.

To help raise the needed funds, the couple held a yard sale. And this year, they’re doing it again, on April 18, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and April 19, from 1 to 5 p.. at 320 North 8th Street in Quincy.

But this year, a work schedule conflict will keep Andrews from riding in the leukemia ride. He will instead ride his bike on behalf of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The ride will be held at Martha’s Vineyard, and is a 62-mile endurance ride. His goal for this year’s event is to raise $2,000.

The yard sale this year will feature the leftover inventory from Antiques More or Less, which is no longer in business. Items for sale include new and used items, antique and contemporary art, silver, glassware, furniture, clothes and more.

There will be coffee, doughnuts, soda and water available as well.

Andrews said the experience of doing the rides is very humbling, particularly when you meet people who are dealing with the disease or caring for someone who is.

“At last year’s (yard) sale, I met a woman whose daughter has leukemia, and she talked with me about it. I told her about the ride, and she couldn’t believe I would do it,” he said. He added that these types of rides always feature a dinner the night before, and often the speakers include those who see the disease up close and personal – patients and caregivers.

“It stresses the importance and it makes the riders feel good about what they’re doing,” he said. “It’s a great experience.”

Andrews said bikers often wear bandanas bearing the signatures of people they know who have the disease. He will wear two bandanas this year – one for his friend in California whose daughter has MS, and another for someone he met in Tallahassee who is in the final stages of the disease.

Andrews said this year’s fundraising effort is crucial, because due to economic circumstances, the need for help from organizations like the MS Society is up but, unfortunately, donations are down.

“Requests are up, but donations are down. People have less money to help family members, and there are less donations to help people with, so there’s a greater need,” he said.

Andrews encourages others to get involved in rides such as these, and says Gadsden County has prime training routes.

“This is a really beautiful area, great for training. Take advantage of what we have in Gadsden County,” he said. “There are great hills here to train on. I’m disappointed more people don’t take advantage of that more. There are country roads right here that have almost no traffic. Great roads, great scenery. People should take advantage of it and help others at the same time.”

For more information or to donate, go online at http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Bike/MAMBikeEvents?px=5982104&....