There’s a new team racing in the pro women’s US scene as of today called the NOW and Novartis for MS, a collaboration between Phil Keoghan’ No Opportunity Wasted (NOW) and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
The team, made up of world-class professional female cyclists, is dedicated to raising awareness and providing a deeper understanding of what MS is and how people are affected by it. The roster includes Robin Farina, Addy Albershardt, Erika Graves, Devon Haskell Gorry, Anne Samplonius and Christina Gokey-Smith.
The NOW and Novartis for MS team will be competing nationally as part of the professional women’s cycling race circuit. These world-class riders are also cycling tandem with honorary teammates, women and men living with MS, in 10 of the National MS Society’s Bike MS rides throughout the country.
The team’s racing schedule include Liberty Classic, Tulsa Tough, Nature Valley Grand Prix, US Elite National Road Championships, Canadian Elite National Championships, Tour de Toona, Cascade Classic, Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium and Tour of Elk Grove.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation today announced its collaboration with Phil Keoghan, host of “The Amazing Race” and founder of No Opportunity Wasted (NOW), to create NOW and Novartis for MS, an inspirational cycling team of professional female cyclists. These world class riders will be paired with a person with multiple sclerosis (MS) and participate in a 10 city tour of National MS Society’s Bike MS rides to inspire communities to achieve a deeper understanding of MS and how people are affected by the disease. The first leg of the Bike MS tour takes place Saturday, June 25, near Denver, CO. The professional cyclists also will compete nationally on the women’s cycling race circuit, to further support MS awareness.
“Bringing attention to MS is a personal passion and ongoing mission for me, and I am thrilled to be lending my voice to this new program in support of this cause,” said Phil Keoghan, the founder of NOW, a brand and philosophy of living life to the fullest. “This project is near and dear to our hearts; we have a relative who has been battling MS for 14 years, it’s time to all come together in the fight against it.”
As part of NOW and Novartis for MS, 10 people with MS will participate in the tour serving as inspirational examples of people who are taking control and refusing to let their disease define them. MS is an often disabling disease that is chronic and progressive. This disease typically strikes during the prime of someone’s life, between the ages of 20 and 50.
“The unpredictability of MS is one of the most difficult things to cope with, so taking control of my disease to the best of my ability is what’s empowering for me,” said Ana Molé, who was diagnosed with MS in 2001. “I’m proud to be on the frontlines of this program and showing, first hand, on behalf of the over 400,000 Americans living with the disease, that we do not have to be defined by it.”
In 2009, Keoghan embarked on a challenging 3,500-mile bike ride across America that raised over $500,000 for the National MS Society. He documented this journey through “The Ride,” a film that has been shown nationwide in 2011, and with additional fundraising efforts and proceeds from the box office, has raised $200,000 more for the organization.
The NOW and Novartis for MS team will participate in the following National MS Society’s Bike MS rides in or around: Denver, CO (June 25); Boston, MA (July 16); Minneapolis, MN (July 24); Cleveland, OH (Aug. 13); Santa Fe, NM (Aug. 27); Memphis, TN (Sept. 10); Detroit, MI (Sept. 17); Morristown, NJ (Sept. 24); St. Augustine, FL (Oct. 1) and Ventura, CA (Oct.1). The NOW and Novartis for MS tour will conclude with the Ventura ride, where Keoghan will join the team to ride on Saturday, October 1.