More MS news articles for May 2000

Son is 'Going the Distance' for Multiple Sclerosis - Biking Around Perimeter of U.S. to Fight His Dad's Disease

Monday May 8, 5:12 am Eastern Time
Company Press Release
SOURCE: Going the Distance

(MS Awareness Month is May)

WASHINGTON, May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Nick Irons remembers clearly the day about 15 years ago when his parents told him that his father John Irons had multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic neurological disease. Irons had suspected that something was wrong -- his dad had developed some difficulty walking and had spent a lot of time in doctor's offices. Now the family had an answer, and lots of questions. How would the disease progress? What kind of disability would John Irons have? How would they all cope?

Even as a child, Irons wanted to make his father's disease disappear. Now, as an adult, he is doing something about it. He has embarked on a five month long, 10,000-mile bike ride around the perimeter of the United States. See for more information.

"I have found a way to do something I love for someone I love," says Irons.

May is National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. May is also the second month of Irons's bike ride -- a nationwide tour called "Going the Distance." Irons's goal is to raise $3 million for MS research and to raise awareness of the disease. "My ultimate goal," says Irons, "is to help find a cure for MS in my dad's life time."

Irons's ride began April 3 outside of Washington, D.C. "Going the Distance" will take him through 29 states, 40 major cities and countless small towns in his personal quest against MS. While Irons is the only person who will complete the entire ride, he will be joined along his route by others affected by the disease -- people with MS, family members, friends, even celebrities and politicians. His father even started the race with him on a specially designed bike.

This is Irons's second marathon effort fighting MS in his dad's honor. Flying home for Christmas from Boston College one year, high above the waters of the Mississippi River, an idea came to Irons -- a grand idea on how to help his dad and others with MS.

In September 1997, Irons became the first man in history to swim the length of the Mississippi. Swimming five hours a day, six days a week, Irons completed the 1,550-mile swim on his dad's 53rd birthday. With the support of family and friends, he completed the swim in four months and raised over $200,000 for MS research.

"Through both the Mississippi River swim and now the bike ride, I hope to bring attention to MS -- the need for research, continued advances in MS therapies, and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment," says Irons.

Irons and his dad know first hand how MS research can benefit people with the disease. When John Irons first got MS, there were no treatments available. Now he takes Avonex®, one of three FDA-approved drugs. Avonex® is a once-weekly injection that helps him control his MS attacks and slows the progression of the disease.

MS affects more than 350,000 people in the U.S. alone. Symptoms include vision loss, paralysis, numbness, and walking difficulties. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recommends that all people diagnosed with relapsing forms of MS begin treatment as soon as possible with one of the three FDA-approved therapies.

To follow Irons on his journey, visit

SOURCE: Going the Distance