Koreen Burrow, 49, and her husband, David, 52, with his 29-plus tattoos, brought their bikes from their home in Ohio to Martha’s Vineyard for the weekend to participate in the Bike MS: Ride the Vineyard fundraiser on Saturday, May 3. They rode the longest of the three routes, 64 miles. A very strong rider in spite of having multiple sclerosis (MS), Koreen would wait at rest stops for David to catch up to her.
“Close to 600 cyclists rode the Vineyard on Saturday,” MS New England event manager Liz Strawn told The Times, “and we are on track to raise $450,000. It could have been the best weather we have ever had for the Vineyard ride.”
The warm sunny day had the riders, most of them from off Island, shedding their cool weather gear before the ride. Many were down to shorts and short sleeves for the 25th annual ride, which began and ended at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.
The ride is sponsored by the New England chapter of the National MS Society. Participants are encouraged to raise a minimum of $250 to enter the ride, whether they choose to ride the 15-mile, 30-mile, or 64-mile route.
Mr. Burrow has 29 small tattoos on his lower legs commemorating MS rides in the 29 states where the couple has ridden. He will add a 30th when he gets back home from the Vineyard. Their goal, to raise awareness and funds for a cure by riding in all 50 states, was set in 2010 after Ms. Burrow suffered a particularly bad flare-up of the disease.
“We started riding when we lived in Alaska,” Ms. Burrow said. “We have done several rides more than once, probably 33 all together. This ride in our 30th state is our first ride on the Vineyard. It is beautiful here. If we could manage it I could see us living here.”
The Burrows estimate they have raised over $125,000 in the course of their rides.
Diagnosed with relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1991, Ms. Burrow’s form of the disease has at times made it difficult for her to walk. She is on a medication that she takes every other day. For years she took it by injection, but now she is on an oral dose that is much easier on her. She said that the most obvious symptom of her MS now is that she drags her left foot a little. It affects her running but not her cycling, she said.
While speeding around Katama with her husband nowhere in sight Ms. Burrow said, “Almost all of the money we raise goes to either research for a cure or for something I am particularly interested in, the care of people suffering from MS.”
The couple returned to Ohio on Sunday and to their jobs on Monday. He plans to score another tattoo after their next ride — in Kentucky on May 17.