Apr 26, 2023 - Things to Do

Houstonian has team of 24 cyclists riding 150 miles for MS

Audrey Blank has either biked or emceed for Texas MS 150 for more than a decade. Photos: Courtesy of Audrey Blank

Thousands of cyclists will ride up to 150 miles across the state this weekend to raise money for a multiple sclerosis cure.

Why it matters: MS — a central nervous system disease affecting almost 3 million people globally — has baffled doctors since it was discovered more than a century and a half ago.

  • The disease can advance silently for years but then attack the protective coating around nerve cells and produce lesions that can cause vision problems, muscle weakness and more.

State of play: Nearly 5,500 riders will take off from Houston on Saturday for the 39th annual Texas MS 150 while others start their ride in Austin or along the bike route. The event concludes in College Station.

Zoom in: Houstonian Audrey Blank attended her first MS 150 more than a decade ago and stood on the sidelines with a "Thanks for saving my life one pedal a time" sign after she was diagnosed with MS in 2007.

  • Since then, Blank has been hosting, emceeing, and some years even participating in the event.
  • This year, she's emceeing and has a group of 24 cyclists called "Audrey's Heroes" who bike several rides a year to raise money to end MS. They have raised more than $71,000 this year, and close to $1.3 million total since 2008.

What they're saying: "Going to a Bike MS event for me was a kind of a therapy almost. It was a way to thank the people that were riding to save my life and the millions of other people living with MS. And so I made that sign just as truly a thank you," Blank tells Axios.

  • "And from there, it's turned into amazing friendships, amazing opportunities to meet people, talk about MS and share my MS story to raise more awareness and more money for the National MS Society."

Of note: Riders hail from 300 cities throughout Texas, more than 30 states, and 10 countries outside of the U.S. – including Canada, Mexico, England, Singapore, Australia and Italy.

What to watch: You can cheer on the riders as they start at 6:45am Saturday at the Addicks Park & Ride in the Energy Corridor.

  • If you want to join, Friday is the last day to register.

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