Summer Helm, U.S. Engineering Innovations Project Coordinator, participated in a 75-mile bike ride to raise money and awareness for Bike MS, an organization dedicated to helping people with Multiple Sclerosis. The ride took place on March 20, 2021, in Florida. For Helm, the event was personal: she rode for her husband’s best friend’s wife, who has MS.
Due to a spike of COVID cases in the area, the ride, originally planned as a group ride following one route, was altered. Helm and other participants navigated their own routes to complete their mileage. Helm chose Shark Valley, a 15-mile loop through the Everglades. She rode the loop five times.
Helm noted one of the special aspects of the event: “My husband got to ride with me and in his own way support his best friend’s family. He held fast for 45 miles then supported me on the rest by having water ready when I came around for the last 2 laps,” she said. “While Steve waited for me, he would spark up conversations with people sitting near him about their lives and what we were doing there. So, when I would come around people cheered and clapped, which was amazing and a huge motivator for those final miles!”
Helm raised over $1,000 for Bike MS. “It was an honor and blessing to be able to be a part of something like that and to simply finish at all,” she recalls. “I got sick earlier in the week (sinus infection) and was still not great the day of. I was actually so nauseous that I did the whole ride on about 800 consumed calories. It seemed fitting to push through despite being uncomfortable. Especially for this cause and knowing how hard and the toll of living with MS can be on an individual, yet they still get up every day to be a mom, dad, wife, husband or an amazing friend who is always there.”