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October 18, 2018

They Won’t be Derailed — Mayo Team Bikes to Advance MS Research

By In the Loop

For more than two decades, staff from Mayo Clinic's Florida campus have become Team Mayo at the annual two-day cycling event, Bike MS. The ride raises funds for people affected by multiple sclerosis.


Twenty-three years ago, on just her second day of work at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus, Sherry Mahoney read an article in the newsletter that would set the course for what's been an interesting and rewarding ride. So to speak. "The story said there was going to be an informational luncheon for people who wanted to ride in the national MS 150 fundraising ride for multiple sclerosis," she tells us.

Intrigued, Mahoney attended the luncheon without really knowing what she was getting herself into. "I learned you'd be riding up to 75 miles a day during the ride," she tells us. "I thought to myself, 'I can't do that.'" Someone sitting next to her broke things down another way. "She said, 'Well, can you ride 20 miles?'" Mahoney tells us. "And I said, 'I don't know … but I can try.'"

So the next weekend she did, on a bike she'd recently purchased but had not yet ridden. And she hasn't stopped since. She's gone from beginner to one of the captains for Mayo Clinic's Bike MS team, leading an ever-growing group of riders who have so far raised more than $1 million for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "It's been amazing," she tells us of her decades-long involvement with the team. "Our Mayo team of riders has really embraced this cause over the years, and a large percentage of the money we've raised has come from our own community."

That money, Mahoney tells us, has been used to directly assist those living with MS by helping to offset household bills or make their homes more accessible and livable. "The money's also been used to provide a camp for children with family members with MS, along with helping to spread MS awareness in general," Mahoney tells us. "The rest has gone toward advancing MS research, which has been awesome to see."

Just as it has been for Mayo Clinic cardiac nurse Sarah Knowles, who took over for Mahoney last year as one of the team's captains. "It's a fabulous event, and Mayo Clinic is always well-represented," Knowles tells us. "As a cyclist and Mayo Clinic employee, it's very fun to do this ride because there's always such great team pride with Mayo Clinic."

Knowles tells us this year's two-day ride — held earlier this month — was no different. "We had 80 team members and that made us the second largest out of the more than 90 teams that did this year's ride," she says. "It was so cool to see that many people riding in a line along the ocean with the words 'Mayo Clinic' on their cycling jerseys."

If you'd like to join that line next year, get the (ahem) wheels turning by emailing Knowles. In doing so, you'll not only help improve the lives of those living with MS, but you'll also get your hands on what Mahoney tells us is one of the hottest cycling jerseys around. "Our Mayo cycling jerseys have become so popular that our gift shops have had to start selling them," she says. "But if you come and ride with us in Florida, you'll get one for a nominal fee."

Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us, as does sharing your comments below. Then use the social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.


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Tags: Employee Stories, Mayo Clinic in Florida, multiple sclerosis, Sarah Knowles, Sherry Mahoney

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