Jeff Craighead cycles in the Bike MS City to Shore Ride every year in support of his wife, Pam, who has multiple sclerosis. By Donald WittkowskiInspired by his wife Pam’s 26-year battle with multiple sclerosis, Jeff Craighead participates in the Bike MS City to Shore Ride every year to help raise money in the fight against an incurable disease that often disrupts the central nervous system.When the 75-mile Bike MS trek from Cherry Hill to Ocean City unfolds during the weekend of Sept. 21-22, Craighead will have plenty of company.As many as 6,000 to 7,000 cyclists are expected to ride in this year’s event, which serves as the second-largest fundraiser in the country for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Around $5 million is expected to be raised this year.Jeff and Pam Craighead, who are volunteers with the Greater Delaware Valley chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, appeared in Ocean City on Thursday night during a City Council meeting to promote Bike MS, now in its 39th year.The number of people suffering from the disease is staggering, according to statistics cited by the Craigheads. Globally, an estimated 2.3 million people have the disease, including one million in the United States. About 150,000 of them reside in the tri-state area. There is no cure for MS.Pam Craighead, 65, was diagnosed with MS in 1993. Thanks to the medication she takes, she continues to do well, although she does have weakness in her right leg that worsens with fatigue, the Craigheads said.Her medication is made possible by research funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Pam said the Bike MS event is a crucial part of efforts to raise money nationwide for other MS sufferers who need help.“Research is happening and the money that is raised is making a difference,” she told reporters in an interview after the Council meeting.This year’s target is 6,000 to 7,000 cyclists for the Bike MS City to Shore Ride ending in Ocean City on Sept. 21-22.In remarks to the Council members, the Craigheads stressed that Ocean City is a major reason for the success of the event. The waves of bikers are attracted by the allure of the Jersey Shore, they said.“The fact that we have Ocean City as a final destination is not insignificant for our success,” Jeff Craighead said. “That is a draw for this ride.”The Craigheads, who live in Philadelphia, thanked Council for Ocean City’s support of Bike MS over the years. Ocean City police officers are stationed along the entry route into town to protect the cyclists and direct traffic.Jeff Craighead, 63, inspired by his wife, has been riding in the event for 26 years. The couple’s son, Jack, has participated in Bike MS for 25 years.Craighead’s fundraising team, the Roxborough Riders, will mark its 26th year in Bike MS this September. Craighead raised $8,000 in 2018 and his son added another $1,000 for MS. In a letter to potential donors, Craighead said he has set a fundraising goal of $7,500 for this year.Bike MS also helps to raise awareness of MS. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and its advocates have been pushing for laws and programs nationwide to support MS research, care and education.“Last year, MS activists helped pass 22 bills in state legislatures across the country, leading to increased access to quality care, disability rights, long-term care support and services, and more,” Craighead told donors in his letter seeking their support.In remarks to Council, the Craigheads thank Ocean City for its support of the Bike MS Ride over the years.
Ryan Montbleau continues to make a name for himself with his soulful music, splitting time between solo shows and full band performances to convey his unique songwriting compositions. Montbleau got his start as a solo musician in 2006, and continues to grow as an artist with new and exciting opportunities. The latest comes in the form of his new album, I Wast Just Leaving, which was produced by Anders Osborne and will officially debut on February 16th in a world premiere performance streamed on Facebook Live.Montbleau shares some background on the new album, saying that “these songs were recorded in the control room of Esplanade Studios New Orleans in January of 2016. Anders Osborne ensured their rawness, brought out their soul and (engineer/mixer) Mark Howard made them shimmer. Those two were a dream team for capturing songs from the heart.”He continues, “After 15 years of going crazy to build a life in music, I found that most of my days were now spent alone in a room reflecting on those years. These songs came out of that space. I thought I’d tried to build a home, but it turns out I was just leaving.” That’s the overarching theme of the new album, and his soulful demeanor comes through strongly on the new song, “Bright Side.” We’re honored to premiere the new track, which you can listen to below.Ryan Montbleau’s new album I Was Just Leaving will be live streamed on Facebook Live via Montbleau’s channel, as well as the Life Is Good and PledgeMusic Facebook pages on Thursday February 16th at 9:00 pm EST. The album is currently available for pre-order via Pledge Music, so don’t miss out. You can also keep up with Montbleau on his official website.
Delayed by the rain on multiple occasions, the Women of Troy returned to the court seemingly without having missed a step.On Monday afternoon the Women of Troy caputred a rescheduled match against UC Irvine, as strong play from both singles and doubles players allowed the Women of Troy to clinch a victory early.Freshman Danielle Lao and sophomore Alison Ramos opened the day with a convincing win in the No. 3 doubles slot with an 8-2 victory over the Anteaters doubles pair of junior Brooke Bartlett and freshman Kristina Smith.The Anteaters captured the second doubles match of the day at the No. 2 slot, but the Women of Troy secured the doubles point after an 8-6 victory by the team of juniors Maria Sanchez and Lyndsay Kinstler.Straight-set victories by No. 39 Ramos, No. 37 Valeria Pulido and No. 18 Danielle Lao secured the victory for the Women of Troy.After No. 8 Maria Sanchez’s victory over the Anteater’s Hammel at the first singles slot, the Women of Troy were well on their way to the eventual 6-1 dominating victory.After their previous matches had been postponed because rain, getting on the court was a welcome return for the Women of Troy.“It feels good to be out there [with the rain gone] and to be winning,” Sanchez said. “It’s also a confidence boost.”On Sunday, No. 9 USC (2-0) bounced out to win in its first dual match of the season, knocking out a 6-1 win over the visiting No. 50 Long Beach State 49ers at USC’s Marks Stadium.The Women of Troy opened in doubles play with two blowout wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, and a much closer game at the top singles slot. The Women of Troy eventually completed the sweep to give them their first team point. At the No. 2 doubles slot for USC, senior Sarah Fansler and freshman Valeria Pulido teamed up for an 8-0 triumph over LBSU’s Deborah Armstrong and Anais Dallara. Following their shutout, Lao and sophomore Ramos followed suit with another dominating doubles victory over Sarah Cantlay and Julie Luzar at 8-1.Meanwhile, the No. 1 doubles team, comprised of Kinstler and Sanchez, had a little more trouble closing out LBSU’s No. 58 duo Jaklin Alawi and Rachel Manasse. But by the end of the set, USC outlasted the pair with a 9-8 (6) win.Soon after, USC took five of the six singles matches as four players posted straight-set victories over the 49ers. The nation’s No. 8 player Sanchez set the tone with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Deborah Armstrong at the top singles slot. At the same time, No. 37 Pulido snagged a commanding 6-3, 6-0 win. Juniors Cristala Andrews and Kinstler posted two more singles wins at the No. 5 and 6 positions, respectively, as Andrews topped her opponent 6-4, 6-0 win in her spot and Kinstler beat Anna Jeczimionka 6-2, 6-4.In a three-set match, USC’s No. 39 Ramos triumphed to take the sixth singles point for her team, posting a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 win over Alawi. Last up was Fansler, who fell 2-6, 2-6 to Dallara, giving the 49ers their only team point of the day.The Women of Troy will be staying at home as they host the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Kick-Off Weekend starting Friday against San Diego and then will play either in the consolation or championship game against either LSU or Auburn the next day. After this weekend’s action, however, two matches in two days shouldn’t be a problem for the Women of Troy.“These two matches gave us a little bit of momentum and confidence for our upcoming matches this weekend,” Ramos said. “They were good practice for us to compete under pressure, but it’s only getting tougher as we get further along in season.”