Riding for a Reason: Annie's Ride

Posted by Marcy Klipfel on Oct 13, 2016 2:35:50 PM

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"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." – Gandhi


 

I want to change the world, but I can’t do it alone.  I know there are many Solvers who feel the same way as me which is a big part of why I love working at Businessolver.  The creation of the Businessolver Foundation has allowed us to use our size and scale to make a larger impact in the communities we serve.  The Businessolver Foundation isn’t just about giving money; it’s about employees giving their time and talents as well.

This past Saturday, we hosted the inaugural Annie’s Ride at the Iowa Speedway with Businessolver as a presenting sponsor.

Annie’s Ride is a fundraising non-profit corporation committed to creating a sustainable annual charity bike ride and after-party benefiting the Mercy Ruan Neurology Clinic. Around 70 riders started and ended at the Iowa Speedway with laps being made on the actual track. The kids who participated especially loved doing laps on the track!  There were 3 distance routes available for riders of all levels: 10 Mile Fun / Family Ride (around track), 40 Mile route and a competitive 80 mile route towards Red Rocks and Pella.  All of routes returned to the Iowa Speedway.  When riders returned, they were treated to food, drinks, music, games, massages, a tour of a Mercy Medical helicopter and even had a chance to experience a surgical robot!  The night capped off with a concert by the Nadas, who really rocked the Iowa Speedway stage. 

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While the event was very unique and fun, tying back to what draws Solvers to charitable causes, I want to tell you a little bit about THE Annie who is the inspiration behind Annie’s Ride.

In 1998, in her Senior year of college and young life full of promise, Annie was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The majority of MS diagnosis occur in females between 20 and 40 years of age and there are relapsing, remitting and progressive types of this disease. Although she rallied over the disease for many years and even went on to become a wife and a mom in the years to come, that dreadful disease remained unpredictable and a reality of her life every day.

In early 2014, her course changed and she started having seizures. She was unable to care for her young daughter, husband and even herself. After a massive seizure later that year, she spent 194 days in the hospital with stints in and out of the ICU. At times she was completely incapacitated and experienced a complete loss of virtually all body functions including her ability to eat or swallow, breath and even blink her eyes. Although she was told many times that she would never live alone, never walk again and never ever care for her daughter, she has done all of these things!

This was as a direct result of Dr. Hughes and his partners and staff at the Mercy Ruan Neurology Center.  They simply wouldn’t let Annie remain that way. They were confident there was a solution. They tried almost everything science had to offer including therapy, medication combinations and Plasmaferesis with limited if any success. Finally, taking a risk on some promising new data around Chemotherapy in MS patients, Annie was the first patient in Des Moines to receive this opportunity.

Today, Annie lives at home with her supportive husband Matt and her beautiful active daughter Addy. She is walking, exercising and even driving! The disease is still there and she certainly does not have the luxury of living “normal” but she has beaten insurmountable odds. Her recent scan revealed no new lesions and she is working to continue to beat those odds every day. If not for herself, for Matt and Addy!

Hosting an event such as this for the first time is nerve wracking, to say the least.  We had no idea what to expect but were sure of one thing…the weather would make or break our event.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day weather-wise on Saturday.  At one point during my volunteer shift, I looked up at the clear, blue sky and I was overcome with gratitude for my health and the simple things in life that I know I take for granted, such as being able to care for my daughters...something that is a luxury for those suffering from diseases like MS.  It was in that moment that I was reminded how wonderful volunteering is for the soul.  Perspective is a beautiful thing.

Annie’s Ride raised over $30,000 and 100% of those proceeds are going to the fantastic team in Dr. Hughes’ office and the Mercy Ruan Neurology Clinic to offer these services and resources to so many who can’t access them.  I want to thank the Businessolver Foundation and our employees for their continued commitment to charitable causes such as Annie’s Ride.  I know together we can change the world.