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More MS news articles for April 2003

Local Endurance Rider with Multiple Sclerosis set to Compete in AERC's Shine and Shine Only 50-Mile Race

Alexandra North and her horse, Butter Bea, aim to qualify for the Pan American Championship

April 7, 2003
CARMEL, Calif.

Alexandra North, a local CPA and championship endurance rider diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995, today announced that she and her mare, Butter Bea, a former racehorse whom North rescued, are joining approximately 75 other riders competing in the American Endurance Ride Conference’s (AERC) annual Shine and Shine Only 50-mile race on April 19, 2003 at Joseph Grant Park in San Jose, California. Four years ago, North and Butter Bea finished 7th out of 40 in the Shine and Shine Only 50, an outstanding accomplishment for Butter Bea’s first endurance race ever, and despite the fact that a late start put North 15 minutes behind the last rider. An avid horsewoman since the age of eight, North has her sights set on the Pan American Championship 100-mile ride in September 2003, and must complete a series of AERC endurance rides with satisfactory ranking in order to qualify for the Pan American. To date, North and Butter Bea have competed in 44 rides and logged over 2,400 miles.

“The Shine and Shine Only 50 is an important step towards the Pan American, in terms of conditioning for both horse and rider,” said North. “My passion for horses and riding helps keep me healthy, in remission, and focused on something other than the disease. And the more we ride, the more Butter Bea likes it. As a CPA, the timing is challenging, but I view this race as a great way for Butter Bea and I to dust off after tax season.”

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects nerve function. Characterized by symptoms that vary in degree and intensity, including numbness, muscle spasms and extreme weakness, multiple sclerosis is unpredictable, and leaves some of its victims wheelchair-bound or bedridden. Recently, North became aware of the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Project (MSQLP), a Carmel, California-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with multiple sclerosis and their families in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. North now volunteers her time as the organization’s spokesperson, and encourages the community to sponsor her rides, either by mile, by event, or in lump sum, to help raise money for MSQLP. Tax-deductible donations for North’s Shine and Shine Only 50 race can be mailed to: MSQLP, P.O. Box 223537, Carmel, California 93922-3537. For more information, please call MSQLP at: (831) 457-7786. Funding will provide critically needed resources and services for individuals and families dealing with multiple sclerosis.

“Alex’s dedication and discipline in living with her handicap is both an inspiration and a model for how we hope to improve our clients’ lives,” said Dr. Lotte Marcus, co-founder and president of MSQLP, and a Carmel psychologist. “In a semi-urban landscape with decentralized medical services, we need to help clients cobble together medical and rehabilitative services at affordable costs so they, too, can maintain an independent quality of life.”

Endurance ride horses receive the very best of care, with regular breaks for food, water, rest and veterinary checks. Races are governed by the AERC, founded in 1972, which has developed rules and strict controls to ensure the health and welfare of the horses competing in endurance rides. The AERC sanctions more than 700 rides each year. To access North’s and Butter Bea’s ride history, visit AERC online, at

About Alexandra North

An avid horsewoman since the age of eight, North started endurance riding in 1995, a few months before she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In spite of unpredictable and sporadic symptoms, North continues to pursue her passion for riding because of the healing effects it provides. After learning about the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Project (MSQLP), she now competes to raise funds for MSQLP, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families deal with the long-term, disabling effects of multiple sclerosis. In 2002, North and her horse, Butter Bea, ranked fourth in the nation for miles raced, won the American Endurance Ride Conference’s (AERC) coveted War Mare award, the Pioneer Award for the middleweight division, took first place in the West region Middleweight Division and the West Region overall. North recently completed a 100-mile ride to gain her Certificate of Capability that qualifies her to nominate for the September 2003 Pan American Endurance Championships, held in Washington State. Participation in the Pan American creates a possibility to be on the United States Equestrian Team that will go on to the World Endurance Cup held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in December 2004. Formerly with Dunlap, Slade, Lubow in Carmel, North launched her own CPA practice in 1999 so she would have more flexibility to participate in endurance rides. Prior to Dunlap, Slade, Lubow, North was with Maryanov Madsen Gordon & Campbell in Palm Springs. North holds a BA in Journalism from Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, and received her certificate in Financial Accounting from National University in San Diego.

About the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Project

The Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Project (MSQLP), in cooperation with the Silicon Valley Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is a 501 (c) (3) Not-for-Profit Corporation dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with MS and their families. MSQLP is creating a pilot program for the tri-county area (Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz) that establishes a new standard of excellence in care and service. Based on results obtained from a comprehensive Needs Assessment Survey conducted by MSQLP in May 2002, this program represents a departure from the traditional “to do for” philosophy by utilizing a “to do with” approach, and focuses on providing many forms of assistance designed to help clients overcome the physical and/or emotional problems that have made life more difficult. By encouraging participation in every step of the process, MSQLP helps clients maintain independence, take control, and live fulfilling and productive lives. For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, contact MSQLP at (831) 457-7786, or P.O. Box 223537, Carmel, California 93922-3537.

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