Local charity bike ride for multiple sclerosis awareness and funds
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Diagnosed in 2009, Rita Joubran recalled the day she found out she had multiple sclerosis (MS).
“I was having dinner at a friend’s house who happens to be a neurologist,” Joubran said.
“I had gone eight years without being diagnosed at least when my daughter was six weeks old when I lost my sight,
“At the time, there was not as much awareness as today…
“For eight years I heard from doctors that there was nothing wrong and I was fine – but it wasn’t.”
Joubran said options for helping MS symptoms have doubled over the past 10 years and credits the continued awareness of MS.
“When I was diagnosed in 2009, there were maybe eight or 10 disease-modifying treatments,” Joubran said.
“Today we have more than 23 people,
“I tell everyone we have options, which is great because 25 years ago he was diagnosed and adios – people had no options.”
Physician John A. Lincoln, associate professor at UT Health McGovern Medical School in Houston, described MS in more detail.
“MS is an immune disorder that involves the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves — it’s basically where your own immune system attacks one or more of these components,” said Lincoln, MD, Ph.D.
Lincoln says MS isn’t always noticeable.
Symptoms vary from person to person, with some cases being very severe or almost invisible.
“The symptoms they experience are tied to where the attack is happening,” Lincoln said.
“So if, for example, in the optic nerves, it’s the nerves that go to the eye, then they can have vision loss or blurred vision associated; the symptoms can really be varied,
“For some people it attacks deeper parts of the brain,
“Some symptoms that are clearly visible are what others can see and many others are invisible to what others cannot always see.” said Lincoln.
For Rita Joubran and her huge team of supporters, she says this is what keeps her going and believing in a cure.
“My husband and I, my family and my friends, you’ll see a bunch of crazy people at the finish line,” Joubran said.
“I owe them – they’re coming out and encouraging this to make a difference because we believe in the cause.”
Rita says the journey to find a cure for MS is not over, but hopes that in her lifetime she will see a breakthrough in medicine with a cure.
Riders will start the bike ride from Houston or Austin, meet at La Grange on Saturday night to rest, and continue Sunday morning to the finish line at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field.