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Volunteers help fuel fund-raising effort of bike ride MS 1500

By MARY VUONG Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Joyce Archibald has seen the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis. She watched a neighbor deteriorate over a dozen years, saw a young mother struggle between good and bad days.

Then six or seven years ago, she and her husband learned an adult relative had been diagnosed with the chronic disease, which affects the central nervous system. Archibald, 66, and husband David, 70, began donating money to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. But for them, it wasn't enough.

So they volunteered for the society's BP MS 150 Bike Tour, a fund-raiser organized by the Lone Star Chapter. They started as water-station workers four years ago and have filled in wherever needed, including handing out T-shirts, loading bicycles and helping a Boy Scout troop set up its camp site. They also volunteer weekly at the chapter office.

For this year's tour, they're up for anything. "You meet so many wonderful people that are out there to ride and to help," Archibald says. "We just come away with such a fantastic feeling." The Houston-to-Austin bike tour has registered a record 13,000 people for the April 16-17 ride. Registration ended last month, but there is still time to volunteer. About 3,000 people donate their time annually during the event weekend. Some 100 slots are still open.

Help is needed with:

• Rider check-in, distribution of T-shirts, goody bags and brochures, and snapping photos of cyclists at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside on April 15. • Parking patrol at Rhodes Stadium and parking patrol and luggage volunteers at Tully Stadium on April 16. Also setting up, tearing down and directing traffic at the Saturday lunch site in Bellville, about 60 miles northwest of downtown Houston. Volunteers usually work in four-hour shifts, some for one shift while others work the whole route. They will receive a commemorative T-shirt and meals.

To sign up, complete the online form at A National Multiple Sclerosis Society representative should contact you within two days.

For information, call Kelly Engle at 713-526-8967 x2262 or e-mail

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