Right in our backyard, you can do more than just ride a bike; you can Bike MS at the Tour to Tanglewood! This annual event is an unforgettable two-day fundraising cycling event that will take you through the Yadkin River Valley and beautiful NC wine country. The ride begins and ends each day at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, NC, on September 16-17, 2017. Once you get your miles in each day, come back and relax at the vibrant Team Village, featuring great food, live music, and the Foothills Brewing Beer Garden. Last year, the Tour to Tanglewood event raised $820,000.00 to help fund MS research and critical programs for people living with MS. MS stands for Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic neurologic condition that damages the covering of nerves in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in a variety of symptoms, such as paralysis, loss of feeling, or impaired vision, just to name a few. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least 2-3 times more women than men begin diagnosed with the disease.
Everyone living with MS has a different clinical presentation, so you may see many riders with MS participating in the Tour to Tanglewood. One of these incredible riders is Guy Ammirati. Guy’s mother was diagnosed with MS in 1974. Then Guy was diagnosed in May of 2011. Guy rides in the Tour to Tanglewood, “for everyone who suffers from MS.” As a rider with MS, Guy is part of the “I Ride with MS” program, and he leads a large team of family and friends in fundraising each year. Guy’s brother, Vincent Ammirati, travels from New York City every year to ride alongside Guy and, in return, Guy and his family travel to NYC for the Ride MS event there. Guy’s wife, Elizabeth, is a key volunteer for many of the local MS initiatives, including the street team, which attends other bike rides in the area to recruit potential riders for Bike MS. Guy’s daughter, Bella, is currently the youngest ride marshal. Ride marshals are volunteers on bikes who provide basic first aid and road support throughout the Tour route. Guy plans to be a ride marshal with his daughter in this year’s event. Another of Guy’s daughters, Tori, will be riding in the event in September, while another daughter, Maria, will be volunteering alongside her mother, Elizabeth. Guy and his beautiful, supportive family make up part of the MSBS MS-Be Strong Team. They certainly are a strong supporter of Tour to Tanglewood. Last year, Guy won the Hustle Award which is given to the cyclist who goes above and beyond to make the Tour a success, and he has been the top fundraiser in the Tour for the last three years with over $7,000 raised. I fact, Rebekah Malkin, Development Coordinator for Bike MS/Walk MS with the National MS Society, states that, “Guy and his family ARE the Bike MS Tour to Tanglewood. Dedication and energy like theirs are what makes the Tour the best ride in the Triad. The Ammirati family inspires me every day and reminds me how important the work we do here at the National MS Society is.”
It is not too late to help support people like Guy living with MS. Registration is open at BIKEMSTANGLEWOOD.ORG and training rides will be hosted by local bike shops throughout July and August. Volunteers are still needed to assist riders along the cycling route and at stations in the Team Village. The fundraising minimum is $300 for cyclists 18 and older and $150 for minor cyclists ages 12-17. The minimum age to ride is 12 years of age. And remember to cheer on riders along the Tour route on September 16-17!!! You might see Guy and his family!