Our Mission

In 1998, in her Senior year of college and young life full of promise, the girl in the picture below was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The majority of MS diagnosis occur in females between 20 and 40 years of age and there are relapsing, remitting and progressive types of this disease. Although she rallied over the disease for many years and even went on to become a wife and a mom in the years to come, that dreadful disease remained unpredictable and a reality of her life every day.

In early 2014, her course changed and she started having seizures. She was unable to care for her young daughter, husband and even herself. After a massive seizure later that year, she spent 194 days in the hospital with stints in an out of the ICU. At times she was completely incapacitated and experienced a complete loss of virtually all body functions including her ability to eat or swallow, breath and even blink her eyes. Although she was told many times that she would never live alone, never walk again and never ever care for her daughter; she has done all of these things!

What you may not know is that this story and picture are of Annie O’Dell, my little sister.

You see, Dr. Hughes and his partners and staff at the Mercy Ruan Neurology Center wouldn’t let Annie remain that way. They were confident there was a solution. They tried almost everything science had to offer including therapy, medication combinations and Plasmaferesis with limited if any success. Finally, taking a risk on some promising new data around Chemotherapy in MS patients, Annie was the first patient in Des Moines to receive this opportunity.

Today, Annie lives at home with her supportive husband Matt and her beautiful active daughter Addy. She is walking, exercising and even driving! The disease is still there and she certainly does not have the luxury of living “normal” but she has beaten insurmountable odds. Her recent scan revealed no new lesions and she is working to continue to beat those odds every day. If not for herself, for Matt and Addy!

This ride will raise money to allow this fantastic team in Dr. Hughes’ office and the Mercy Ruan Neurology Clinic to offer these services and resources to so many who can’t access them. 100% of our money will stay local!

Thanks for your support,

Chris Andrews