Lehigh Valley Woman with Multiple Sclerosis to Battle Disease on Her Bike

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Since 1992, Tania Kincaid has been battling multiple sclerosis. This month she plans to fight it on two wheels – for her fifth consecutive year. She will ride with nearly 250 of her friends and family to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

It all started in the summer of 1999 when Tania Kincaid went blind because of multiple sclerosis (MS). Since the light caused pain in her eyes, she tended to stay at home in the dark. Her husband’s supervisor, Stacey Asbell, issued a challenge to bike 150 miles to raise money in Tania’s name. He and four others accepted and started Team Tania with Stacey as Captain.

There were six people on Team Tania in 1999. Last year there were 220 on the team which ranked them the largest “Friends and Family Team” in the nation. This year there will be nearly 250 friends and family riding on Team Tania with a goal to raise $155,000. Over the years, that would make over $500,000 raised for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Becoming the largest Friends and Family Team and raising a half million dollars is no small feat. However, what makes this year special is that it will be the fifth year that Tania will actually be riding with the team for all 150 miles. Her personal goal is to raise $1,000.

Over time, Tania’s eyesight returned. “Although,” she says, “there is still some residual effect.” “It’s like looking through a wet pane of glass at times,” she says. Over the years, she’s had bouts with her eyesight, muscle weakness, and fatigue – all classic symptoms of MS.

All of Tania’s friends and family know that she does not give in easily. She trains throughout the year riding her bike. She will cover 75 miles on Saturday from Cherry Hill, NJ to Ocean City, NJ. Then on Sunday, she will take the same route back for a round-trip of 150 miles.

The event is called the MS-150 City-to-Shore Bike Tour and benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This year it will be September 16th and 17th. There are breaks about every 15 to 20 miles with plenty of food and drink. The event, which is the largest charity event on the east coast, will draw nearly 6,000 other cyclists. The monies raised benefit MS patients in the Delaware and Lehigh Valley regions.

Tania’s mother, Lee Kaniuka (one of the original six), will be joining her again this year. She has since move to Florida with her husband Steve, but they come up for the event. She’s never missed a year since she started in 1999.

To prepare for her first attempt in 2002, she started riding her bike a few miles a day. Then she started riding up to 20 or more miles. As her friends found out, they joined her on Saturdays and even joined Team Tania. Now they have a “ladies ride” on Saturdays that leaves from Trexlertown towards Kutztown and back. They often stop at a local shop for coffee and a chance to chat. “What’s said on the ride stays on the ride,” jokes one of her friends.

Tania credits exercise and healthy meals for her ability to ride. She also credits her faith in God. “I’m thankful that with God, family and friends, I don’t have to go through this alone,” she says.

“She’s the inspiration for the team,” says Team Captain Stacey Asbell.

When Tania arrives in Cherry Hill in the pre-dawn darkness on Saturday morning, Stacey and 250 other “Team Tania-ites” will be there to greet her. She also knows that by riding and raising money for the MS Society, she is helping thousands of others like her.

For additional information about Tania or how you can sponsor her, contact Patrick Kincaid or visit http://www.TeamTania.com.

About multiple sclerosis: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). MS causes destruction of myelin, the covering of nerve fibers that connect nerve cells in the central nervous system. When the myelin is damaged, communication between nerve cells is impacted. Lesions form where the myelin is damaged, and depending on the number of lesions formed and their location, symptoms like blindness, dizziness, and weakness result. Symptoms vary as the location and severity of damage is variable.

About Team Tania: Stacey Asbell (Captain) formed the team in 1999. Under her direction, Team Tania has garnered numerous awards over the years: Gold Team, Platinum Team, Best Jersey, Most Improved Team, Mission Possible Team, Chairman’s Cup Award, Tour of Champions Team, and Team Safety Award. Team Tania is also recognized as the largest MS Friends and Family Team in the nation. Ms. Asbell can be contacted at http://www.TeamTania.com
About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society: Founded in 1946, the National MS Society supports more MS research, offers more services for people with MS, provides more professional education programs, and furthers more MS advocacy than any MS organization in the world. For more information visit http://www.MS150BikeTour.org


Patrick Kincaid




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