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Go virtual for multiple sclerosis

In the wake of COVID-19 and its associated social distancing measures, many charities have been launching online versions of their annual fundraising events. Throughout June, MS Queensland will do just that for its 30th annual MS Brissie to the Bay.

The event, which normally welcomes over 5,000 riders to cycle from South Brisbane to the Redlands, has gone virtual with its new format “MS Brissie to the Bay – 30 for 30 Challenge”.

The format allows riders across the country to set their own distances to achieve in June – across 30 days in celebration of the event’s 30th year – while raising funds for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological conditions.

MS Queensand’s Executive General Manager of Fundraising and Marketing, Dan Lalor, said this new challenge for 2020 would inspire some creative thinking on how people can clock their kilometres, either indoors or outside.

“For 30 years, MS Queensland’s Brissie to the Bay has invited people to jump on their bikes to raise funds to ensure people living with MS and other neurological conditions don’t face it alone,” Mr Lalor said.

“This year, due to COVID-19, we aren’t able to ride together as a community, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop fighting against MS.

“This format will allow participants some interesting ways to clock their distance, whether that be cycling in their own time safely outside, or even challenging work colleagues or classmates to cycling challenges at home via Zoom.”

When MS Queensland launched MS Brissie to the Bay in its original form in February, it had record-breaking registrations of more than 6,000 people. Refreshingly, many long-term riders have embraced the virtual event.

“Our community needs our support every day, and during this time of global pandemic, they need us even more,” Dan said.

“MS Queensland, which has supported the community for more than 60 years, is flexible to be able to adapt and manage challenging circumstances, with the wellbeing of our community a continued focus.”

MS Queensland hopes to raise $1.1 million to support the essential services it delivers, including service coordination, physiotherapy and exercise therapy, psychology, nursing support, as well as contributing to MS research to look for better treatments and ultimately a cure for the condition.

The term “multiple sclerosis” translates to “many scars”, and it is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system. It may affect the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve, and it impacts more young people in Australia than any other chronic progressive neurological disease.

For more information about how the MS Brissie to the Bay – 30 for 30 Challenge works, visit the website.