Koreen Burrow and her husband, David Fox, admit it. The Canfield couple’s lives are consumed by riding 150-mile, two-day Bike MS cycling events to raise money for multiple sclerosis research.
Their goal: Ride at least one event in each of the 50 states.
So far, they have ridden in 25 events in 22 states, as attested to by tattoos on the calf of Fox’s right leg representative of each state in which they’ve ridden.
He is considering adding Ohio State University mascot Brutus Buckeye to commemorate their participation in the Ohio Pedal to the Point Ride on Aug. 3-4.
“He has the most-photographed leg in the world,” his wife said with a laugh.
When they moved to Canfield from Alaska last November, one of their requirements was that their Realtor find them a place near a bike trail.
Their home is about a mile from a section of the Great Ohio Lake to River Greenway Bike Trail.
Burrow was 26 when diagnosed with MS in 1991. At first she did not go public about having the disease, but she considers herself lucky.
Her initial symptom, numbness on her left side, occurred while studying for her master’s degree in molecular biology and pathology at OSU’s Department of Neurology.
“I was lucky. I got a quick diagnosis and was able to begin therapy right away,” she recalled. “The doctor with whom I was working said you either have MS or a brain tumor. I had an MRI and a diagnosis within a week. For some, a diagnosis can take months,” she said.
Burrow is also among the 85 percent of people diagnosed with MS that have relapsing/remitting MS, the most common of the four disease courses identified in MS.
It is characterized by clearly defined attacks, called flare-ups, with full recovery and a lack of disease progression between relapses, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Now 49, Burrow, through medications, diet, exercise, “listening” to her body and “luck” has stayed in the disease’s relapsing/remitting stage.
Because she worked for a doctor who saw MS patients, Burrow, when diagnosed, knew what could happen.
“It scared me,” she admitted.
Her future husband, whom she met at OSU and who has an associate degree in business management from Franklin University, had proposed just a month before.
“I thought everything in my life would change,” she said.
But to her surprise, she said there were changes, but they didn’t last. Instead, the symptoms went into remission. She has had relapses over the years when symptoms occurred.
She temporarily lost vision in one eye and her speech on another occasion, but she said she has always gotten everything back.