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Clark raises $19,000 for Multiple Sclerosis

Posted: Friday, Oct 15th, 2010

Karen Clark in Ocean City, N.J. on the beach celebrating after finishing the ride for Multiple Sclerosis. (Photo submitted)

MT. MORRIS — Former Mount Morris resident, Karen Clark celebrated her 49th birthday early by cycling 156 miles and raising funds for Multiple Sclerosis on Sept. 25-26. The ride took place from Cherry Hill, N.J. to Ocean City, N.J.

Clark was her team’s top fundraiser for the second year in a row. Clark set her goal at $20,000. She placed fourth in fundraising out of 7,000 cyclists raising just shy of her goal at $19,000.

Clark is still collecting donations until Oct. 26. Contact William Clark, 815-734-4301, if you are interested in still sponsoring. Checks can be made payable to “National MS Society.”

Karen carried a personal letter filled with the names of those shared by sponsors of friends and family that have lived or are living with MS. “The letter made the ride so much more personal by all the stories and thoughts shared,” Clark said.

More than 7,000 cyclists ranging from 10-85 years old participated this year in the annual Bike MS: City to Shore Ride. The ride is sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and has raised almost 5 million dollars this year.

Clark’s Team, Team Tania, has raised almost $275,000 and is the largest friends and family team across the United States.

Clark received sponsorship from family, friends, neighbors and co-workers from all over the United States and abroad. Sponsorship came from Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, California, Minnesota, Texas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Florida, South Carolina, Iowa and Church Crookham in Southern England.

More than 400,000 Americans have MS. MS is frequently diagnosed between the ages of 20-50.

Clark’s ride number was #13 this year. Several cyclists asked how she received such a low number. Numbers are based on the amount raised the previous year. Clark was in 13th place with fundraising last year and in the 2011 ride she will have the #4.

Clark spoke about one of the highlights of this year’s ride. “One of my highlights was cycling with Lan Yin Tsai, who at 85, is the oldest member cycling of the City to Shore MS Ride. Lan Yin has ridden for 27 years and wears a dress and pumps each year and is riding on her old fashioned one-speed bicycle. Lan Yin always dressed up for church and rode her bike so it’s how she likes to ride. I rode and talked with Lan Yin for six miles in the last 20 miles on the second day. One of her daughters was in a car close behind her with hazards making sure she was okay.” Clark went on to say, “I hope that when I’m 85 that I can continue to ride my bike for great causes like MS.”

Clark said at all the rest stops the cyclists cheered Lan Yin on and were constantly taking photos with her. Small in stature and larger than life on this ride Lan Yin spoke of her determination saying, “Whatever you can do, keep doing it. And that’s why I do MS. When I start something, I don’t want to quit.” These familiar words were also instilled in Clark growing up with her parents and Grandma Corbett. Clark is the daughter of Joanne (Nelson) Miller and William (Kathy) Clark, both of Mount Morris.

Lan Yin was the last cyclist to come in at the end of the second day but you had to have heard the sirens and the entire crowd of cyclists and volunteers cheering and applauding her efforts.

Clark said, “I had chills and tears at the same time seeing her come in to the finish line. I’m sure everyone was smiling going home from this MS Bike, not only accomplishing their two-day journey for MS but also due to Lan Yin and her commitment to this ride. What an honor cycling with Lan Yin and to help those living with MS in hopes of one day finding a cure!”

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