by Rick Griffin
Santee resident Joann Dufloth, a science teacher at Valhalla High School, rode her bicycle 150 miles over two days, along with 1,800 other cyclists, in a recent fundraiser for multiple sclerosis. Cyclists included people living with MS, as well as cyclists riding in honor of friends and family members who have MS. Dufloth rode in tribute to her longtime friend Carmen Cutler of Lakeside, who has lived with MS since her diagnosis in November 1998.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s 31st annual Bike MS Bay to Bay Tour, held Oct. 19 and 20, raised more than $1.8 million in donations for MS research and programs and services for people affected by MS, a chronic, unpredictable and disabling disease of the central nervous system with no known cause, cure or prevention.
Cutler, a classified administrative employee with the Grossmont Union High School District since August 1990, has used a wheelchair occasionally during the past decade. “It was overwhelming to me to see all the riders supporting the MS Society,” Cutler said. “I try to maintain a positive attitude. My motto is that I have MS, but MS will never have me.”
Dufloth and Cutler have been friends since shortly after their daughters were born in 1997. “Carmen has been my dear friend for decades and she certainly was my inspiration every mile of that exhausting bike ride,” said Dufloth, 43, a high school teacher for the past 20 years. She rode at Bike MS with a team of riders sponsored by Shoebacca, an online shoe company. This was Shoebacca’s fifth year to sponsor a Bike MS team.
Sponsors for this year’s Bike MS ride included Hansen Beverage Co., KSWB-TV Fox 5 San Diego and KTLA-TV Channel 5 Los Angeles. Bike MS has been voted “Best Cycling Event” for the past six years by the readers of Competitor Magazine. Information about 2014 Bike MS in 2014 will be available at www.BikeToFinishMS.com.