Keenan O’Brien, a senior at Orcas Island High School, is truly making an impact this year with his senior project. O’Brien chose to participate in a program that fundraises for Multiple Sclerosis through cycling competitions and events. Bike MS is the premier fundraising cycling series in the nation. The organization works to raise money to support Multiple Sclerosis research, promote awareness, and to create a world free of MS. Bike MS holds several cycling events throughout the nation each year, and encourages cyclists of all levels to join the journey and the fight against MS. Keenan O’Brien took up the challenge, signed up for a race, and joined the cause.
O’Brien was motivated by more than his love of cycling, an eagerness to take on obstacles in selecting his project, and the joy of participating in a Bike MS race. He was supporting a cause that was very dear to his own heart, as his mother has been diagnosed with MS, and is currently living with the challenges of the disorder. When asked why he chose this program, O’Brien remarked that he “wanted to do something that would benefit the MS community and make a difference in the lives of those living with MS and their family members.” O’Brien certainly got his wish, as his participation in the MS race not only served as a fundraiser for awareness, but also connected him with other families and individuals living with MS.
The race was a meaningful experience for O’Brien on a personal level and a huge success in terms of attendance and the amount of money raised. The event O’Brien took part in, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Deception Pass Classic, is an annual event held in Washington State for Bike MS. The event took place over the course of two days, in which the cyclists could ride as many as 150 miles in total. O’Brien rode the 100 mile race the first day with a small team from Orcas Island. The race was notably well attended, and many donations were gifted to the numerous participating teams. By the end of the day, O’Brien had earned about $10,200 for donation. “It was so much fun,” smiled O’Brien, “I would definitely do it again.”