Rock for the Ride

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Words by Erin Wolf

As a musician, imagine picking up a guitar or sitting behind a drum kit and not being able to play or hit in rhythm, no matter how much prior practice. The central nervous system plays an important part in music that most musicians don’t even give a second thought to. Take away basic nervous system functionality, and undoubtedly, it would be the forefront of thought. For several locals, it already is.

Benefit shows are nothing new, but the cause behind each one is what counts. This Friday, four local bands, steered by local musician and event organizer Stephanie Swinney, are taking the stage to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis, which devastates the nervous systems of thousands of people, musicians and non-musicians, alike. To raise awareness, in addition to the annual cycling ride, the MS 150, Swinney started organizing shows to garner additional funds. Swinney’s own personal experience with the disease fueled her passion for the cause, her own enthusiasm helping the event to become a growing success. Swinney gives Fan-belt the details of this year’s event, which features music by local pop-punk and pop-rock bands Molitor, The Hussy, Jail and Bored Games.

“A couple years ago, my friend Christina Land decided she wanted to start doing more cycling rides. She had the MS 150 in mind as a goal to work towards in order to ride for my family, as three women in my immediate family have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (Christina and I have been friends since high school and [she’s] close with my family. I was so grateful (to say the least) to her for wanting to do the ride and then thought that I should use my resources to organize a show to get more donations for her for the ride! I was originally just going to do the show, and then we decided to the silent auction as well.

“The first year was at Frank’s [Power Plant] and our initial goal was one thousand dollars. We were able to raise about $2,600! We didn’t intend on this being an annual event, but then, the next year, Christina said she had wanted to do the ride again We wanted to outdo ourselves from the previous year, and made a goal of three thousand dollars which we were able to achieve, and then some.This year, we’re not having the auction and instead, are having a raffle for a ticket/tailgate package which includes four Brewers tickets to the August 26th game versus the Reds, a twenty-five dollar gift certificate to Pick’n Save for tailgate items and a whole lot of beer (of course). We really have a lot of fun doing it — it’s fun to organize! We have plans for next year’s already, to have an art sale or auction.

“Multiple Sclerosis is a strange disorder: it’s a neurological disease and affects everyone very differently. My mother’s case is vastly different from either of my sisters’ and even my sisters’ circumstances are very different from each other. Basically, I always describe it how it was described to me when I was twelve — that your brain isn’t getting the message to your limbs (or whatever is affected) fast enough. But again, it’s different for everyone and speech can be affected, or sight, hands, legs, etc. There is no cure as of yet, but there will be, one day!

“I think one of the greatest things about this is how awesome and generous everyone is each year — we’ve had so much help from our friends from donations, posters, auction items, bands and more…it’s really quite overwhelming and truly heartwarming.”

The MS 150 is August 1st and 2nd this year. The Globe South is located at 3000 S. 13th Street.

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