By Alison Jelden
- Speech Language Pathologist
- Team Captain, Rough Riders
- 5th year at Bike MS
Ashley is a hard-working mother of two boys and wife to beloved companion, Matt, of 15 years. She enjoys cooking, crafting, hiking, camping, and of course, cycling. We spoke with Ashley about how multiple sclerosis has impacted her life, her dedication to support her own community during Bike MS weekend, and why it’s so important to keep rolling even when the going gets tough.
Can you tell me about your MS story?
While riding my bike on a sunny afternoon, my left foot went numb. A year later, in 2008, I was diagnosed with MS. The news gave me a long pause, but I told myself I had two choices: I could let MS control my life, or I could fight back. I chose the latter. Since then, I have kept pushing so MS won’t get the best of me.
How has the National MS Society made a difference in your life?
Heat tends to aggravate MS symptoms. For example, when it gets really, really hot, I have trouble with my vision and it’s hard to remain active—get out there and do the things I need to do to keep our family (and my work as a speech pathologist) humming along. Thankfully, the Society helped me obtain a cooling vest. It’s made a huge difference in how I manage through the summer (especially THIS summer!).
Why do you Bike MS?
I love being a part of the community which is the heart and soul of Bike MS. And let me add, it’s not just another event or a ride—it’s an experience! While riding, you see all the teams and the hardships of others living with MS which instills hope.
That is why I ride. That is why I fight—to keep HOPE in my journey with MS.