27 FEBRUARY 2021

Every five minutes, someone, somewhere in the world is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In Australia, one in three people will be directly impacted through a diagnosed family member, friend or colleague.

Every dollar raised from the MS Melbourne Run + Ride Festival helps people living with MS get the vital support they need to meet their goals and live well.

People like Steven van Ruyven.

Steven was a young and successful marketing executive, father and husband, enjoying the spoils of a successful corporate career and living a comfortable life. Although lingering fatigue continued to weigh him down, he continued to push through life as best he could.

Despite his numerous visits to the local doctor, Steven left his last consultation feeling somewhat “disbelieved”, wondering if the health professional’s preliminary diagnosis was that this healthy and fit looking individual was “making it up”.

Steven was diagnosed with MS in 1996, after he began experiencing fatigue, numbness, loss of fine motor skills, and difficultly walking. Within a year, Steven’s health had deteriorated so badly he was forced to give up work.

But he didn’t give up on life.

Eight years after his diagnosis, Steven’s life changed: His son wanted to go for a bike ride, and he decided he’d like to go riding with him.

“I dragged my bike out of the shed and I found I could do a little bit of riding with my son,” he says.

It took Steven some time, but the short rides became longer ones. Now, with careful and precise fatigue management, Steven is enjoying life and is an avid cyclist.

In 2010, Steven received a MS Go for Gold Scholarship, and it changed his life. Steven used his scholarship to buy a new bike and cycling equipment.

“Cycling hasn’t helped my MS, but it has made my legs strong. I find walking a struggle, for some reason it’s really hard on me, but pedalling a bike is not as hard as walking.”

Steven rides 250km a week and has thrown himself into cycling challenges over the last few years. A long time participant of MS Melbourne Run + Ride (formerly the MS Melbourne Cycle + Half Marathon), Steven not only completes the event, but rides from the Mornington Peninsula in the morning, then back in the afternoon.

Over the years, Steven has been a long term ambassador, participant and fundraiser. While taking part in the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 rides, and the 2018 MS Gong Ride, Steven has raised over $15,000.

“The quality of my life has improved out of sight.”

By taking part in the MS Melbourne Run + Ride Festival, you’ll help us offer a suite of services and support to help minimise the impact of living with multiple sclerosis, while the search for a cure continues. Learn more about the difference you make.

Together, we'll make sure no one faces MS alone.