Winston-Salem mom, Molly Grace, leads team Normalize Compassion at Bike MS Tour to Tanglewood
“Suddenly, I woke up one day and my eyes were painfully sensitive to light as if I just had my pupils dilated or a grain of sand in my eye. It was such a powerful rejection of light and it was impossible not to notice that something was wrong,” said Molly Grace, Bike MS rider, team captain and MS Society advocate, as she recounted noticing her first symptoms of MS.
Molly Grace is a Winston-Salem mom, cyclists, passionate local citizen who has been dealing with symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) since she was 21.
MS or Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. The cause of MS is unknown, and the symptoms and their severity cannot be predicted. Scientists believe that the disease is triggered by an as-of-yet unidentified environmental factor in a person who is genetically predisposed.
Molly Grace is team captain for team Normalize Compassion in this year’s Bike MS, Tour to Tanglewood event in Clemmons, NC. To keep the fundraising spirit alive, Molly will also ride nearly 600 miles to New York City. Team Normalize Compassion has a goal of fundraising $30,000 for MS this year.
Molly Grace has become an advocate for people dealing with MS, a community leader and an educator in the Winston-Salem area. She spoke candidly about the struggles that people with MS face, even when trying to get medical attention.
“When I was about 26, I started to pursue treatment and found it very difficult to find a neurologist to give me an updated diagnosis or work with me. A lot of neurologists, unfortunately, suggested that I was vitamin deficient or psychosomatic, meaning that I basically shouldn’t Google things on the internet,” said Molly.
For a long time, Molly struggled with emotional isolation even from her closest friends and family.
“It is really hard for people to understand the affliction that we experience because this disease is mostly invisible up until a point,” said Molly.
“I knew that I had moved from a relapse and remitting to a progressive form of MS because I was only getting worse. I can’t stress enough how low my emotional state was at that point. I was completely consumed by sadness,” she said.
When she reached her lowest point, she started to look more into what MS was. She stumbled upon the MS Society. Molly Grace called this her “turning point.”
After Molly Grace finally got a neurologist to take her experiences seriously, she received a letter with her diagnosis that read: “Diagnosis: Secondary Progressive MS.”
“I can’t tell you how relieved and validated I felt to have that piece of paper that told me that I was not crazy. It truly was the badge of merit that I needed. It was permission to talk about it,” said Molly.
A while later, a friend suggested Molly join a Bike MS team. “I thought he was absolutely insane,” said Molly. But out of spite, she started riding longer, harder and more often.
“Over about a month, my endurance and distance were going up while my frustration was completely dissolving. My muscles were getting in shape and my body was getting stronger, which was making it easier to push through my symptoms. It was such an intoxicating and invigorating feeling,” she said.
Bike MS has changed Molly’s outlook on having MS. “I started to feel like shouting, “I HAVE MS!” said Molly.
Bike MS is the largest fundraising bike series in the world and has raised over $1.3 billion dollars for MS since its inception. In the Triad, Bike MS takes place to and from Tanglewood Park on September 22 and 23. The two-day ride offers 20-200-mile options for cyclists to ride at whatever distance they choose.
To learn more about Molly Grace and her story visit her team page or sign up to ride with Molly here.
Donate, advocate, volunteer and participate to help spread awareness and raise money for the much-needed research that people living with MS need. Learn more at Bike MS.