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MS Tram ride looking for help from volunteers

Riders taking part in the MS Tram travel 300 miles on bicycles over a five-day stretch. After coming in from Long Prairie Thursday, July 20, they will stay one night at Wadena's Sunnybrook Park before leaving the next morning for Fergus Falls. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal1 / 3
MS Tram bicyclists will be setting up camp once again in Sunnybrook Park on July 20 after a ride from Long Prairie. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal2 / 3
Volunteers like Kristina Kukacka shuttled luggage for the bikers who took part in the MS Tram when it passed through Wadena in 2016. The Ride Across Minnesota (TRAM) stopped for a night at Sunnybrook Park in Wadena. The fund-raising event will be stopping in Wadena once again on July 20 and local volunteers are badly needed. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal3 / 3

Jamie Blood of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is looking for local volunteers to help with the 2017 MS Tram, which cycles into Wadena July 20.

The Development and Logistics Manager is pointing those interested in volunteering at Volunteer Manager Lissa Martinez (612) 335-7984 or lisaandrea.martinez@nmss.org.

Some of the annual event's greatest needs are route markers, volunteers to man rest stops Thursday through Saturday, a luggage truck driver and intersection assistance along the route each day. The MS Society will pledge a donation to organizations that supply a few volunteers. Some past volunteer groups have been the Boy Scouts, local bicycle clubs, high school bands, church mission trips and high school rugby and lacrosse teams.

The Ride Across Minnesota (TRAM) will leave the Douglas County Fairground in Alexandria July 19. After spending the night in Long Prairie, the cyclists, who represent all skill levels, range in age from 17 to 85 and hail from all parts of the United States, are scheduled to make the 38-mile jaunt from Long Prairie to Wadena where they spend their second night on the trail. Sunnybrook Park has been put at the Tram rider's disposal. Early on Friday morning, the riders leave for Fergus Falls where they will camp two nights, taking a day trip out of Fergus Falls the first day and then heading back to Alexandria on the second day.

The goal of the five-day, 300-mile ride is to raise money to fight multiple sclerosis, a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. MS can be dealt with successfully in some cases according to Blood.

"The real neat this is that we are having a push for wellness (a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being)," Blood said. "The drugs that are on the market are kind of slowing down the progression."

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