Community

Grape Escape takes place this weekend

The Fraser Valley Grape Escape, an annual fundraiser for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, takes place on Saturday and Sunday in Langley.

The cycle tour of wineries starts with check-in Saturday morning at the Cascades Casino and Convention Centre in Langley City. The ride begins at 10 a.m. Riders have a choice of travelling 110 km over two days, or a more gruelling 135 km on Saturday.

To enter the event, riders must collect a minimum of $300 in pledges to the MS Society. There will be a number of prizes given away to participants, including tickets to see Elton John. All money raised goes towards MS research and offering services to people living with MS.

On the evening of Saturday, June 7, there will be a themed dinner and dance. There will be a buffet dinner, accompanied by  live entertainment.  Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.

For more information on the event, please visit msbike.ca.

Among those taking part are Gerry and Pat Wilson, who got involved in learning about multiple sclerosis as their 24-year-old son was starting to lose his eyesight.

After receiving a three-day steroid treatment, he was referred to St. Paul’s Hospital for further tests.  His mother was apprehensive.

“I had this inkling that this was bigger than what we thought it would be,” Pat recalled.

She was right. Her son was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis — an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. The damage to the nerve cells disrupts the nervous system’s ability to communicate, resulting in a range of symptoms including vision problems.

Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives. The Wilsons have been riding in the Fraser Valley Grape Escape since 2004, a bike fundraiser that visits local wineries over the course of a weekend.

“The Fraser Valley Grape Escape is hugely fun and features some lovely wines and yummy eats,” Pat said.

Gerry said “It’s a fun day and we get to know others with MS.  It provides a lot of support.”

The Wilsons have raised more than $75,000 for the MS Society of Canada over the years.

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