NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Several Sailors from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) participated in the Hampton Roads chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's charity bike tour June 5-6.
Two teams from Ike, one led by Lt. Mike Davis of engineering department and the other led by Airman Jessica Lewis of air department's V-2 Division, traveled 75 miles from the Suffolk Airport to Chowan College in North Carolina. The teams stopped for a night's rest and headed back the next day.
With more than 300 people participating, the 150-mile ride raised more than $280,000. Davis's team, "The Ike Bikers" was able to raise more than $2,000 of that total. Members of the team included Davis, Chief Hull Maintenance Technician (SW/AW) Linda Blaker of Engineering Department, Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jared Long of Reactor Department and Chief Hull Maintenance Technician (SW/AW) Michael Virden, also of Engineering.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system. Today, more than 2.5 million people suffer from the disease worldwide. It disrupts the nerves' ability to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain, causing symptoms such as blurred vision or blindness, unstable walking, muscle spasms, slurred speech and fatigue.
For Davis, the race had a very personal meaning. "My dad has MS, so when I heard that the local chapter of the MS society was sponsoring this race, I signed up. Doing this allows me to help fight this disease and do something that I love," he added.
"I did this race at the local MS chapter back in my hometown, so when I found out that they were having one locally, I jumped at the chance to sign up," Lewis said.
Both Davis and Lewis mentioned that the bike tour was a particular challenge because of the distance.
"I've always enjoyed riding long distances, and the 75 miles on the first day was just about normal for me. Doing it all over again the next day wasn't easy, but it was definitely worth it," said Davis.
"One-hundred fifty miles is a lot, but they had rest stops along the way with drinks and even bike mechanics to fix your bike if need be," Lewis said.
Davis expressed particular appreciation to Sara Dowell and the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division for helping his team with the event.
"They provided us with jerseys, which really gave us the sense of being a team," Davis said. "All in all, this was a great event," Davis said. "When we stayed overnight in North Carolina and heard stories from people with MS who were riding in the bike tour, it really gave us a sense of perspective."
This event is just one example of the many things Eisenhower Sailors do to better the community in which they live and work.
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69.