WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield resident Philip Michel has found a new way to tell his neighbors about a favorite charity. Look for him on the mornings of July 29, 30 and 31 between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. as commuters board their own ride at the Westfield train station. There, he’ll have paper wheels available for a $5 donation to the National MS Society that you can pin up in a cubicle or on a bulletin board.
In Sept., Michel will participate in Bike MS: City to Shore, a ride takes thousands of cyclists from Cherry Hill, NJ, all the way down to the Ocean City boardwalk. The annual event is designed to raise money for multiple sclerosis through the National MS Society’s Greater Delaware Valley Chapter.
Inspired by a friend who had participated in the ride for years, Michel took part in his first City to Shore ride three years ago. That year, slightly short of his fundraising goal, he decided to sell the paper bike wheels at Westfield’s train station.
“It was great—a lot of fun. And it made people more aware of MS,” said Michel.
During his first year he made about $100 dollars in one hour at the train station, according to Michel. The next year, he spent more time and made $200. This year, to reach his goal of $400, he plans to visit other stations along the Raritan Valley Line, as well.
According to the National MS Society, Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic and often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. While there is no known cure for the disease, new treatments and advances in research are giving new hope to people affected by MS. The National MS Society is working toward a world free of MS and provides those living with it with support both financially and emotionally.
“It’s just a really good organization. They’ve got an excellent track record,” said Michel.
Though Michel didn’t have any direct connections to MS when he joined the ride, he soon became a champion of the cause as he met more people whose lives had been affected by the disease. Then there’s the ride itself.
“As you start getting closer to the finish line, you see all these signs of people who have been lost to MS. You see supporters and people who have MS and they’re all cheering you on,” said Michel.
Last year, Michel also recruited his wife, Ruth, to make the 25-mile ride with him. The two will ride together again this year.
What Michel hopes to raise at train stations is only a portion of his total goal of $1,300 this year. To donate via his fundraising page online, click here.
For more information about City to Shore or to join the ride, visit www.mscycling.org.