'We Ride for MS'
In 2002 Ralph Dixon, a person with MS and Fionnuala Livingston undertook an ambitious, daring and inspirational International Charity Motor Cycle Ride, 'We Ride 4 MS'. They rode their motor cycle from Sydney to London via some of the most dangerous countries in the world, including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and 25 European countries, raising awareness of MS and also funds for research.
Ralph Dixon and Fionnuala Livingston posed for the media in Queensland
The Foundation is very grateful that Ralph and Fionnuala, endorsing the narrow research goal of the Foundation to find a cure for MS, pledged the funds raised on their Australian leg to the Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation. The Premier of NSW, Bob Carr, kick-started the campaign, funds raised from the ride greatly boosting the Foundation's funds for research.
Roy and Carol Langsford accompanied Ralph and Fionnuala on the Australian leg of their epic journey, support being received from Rotary Clubs across Australia as well as the many schools which were visited along the way.
Ralph and Fionnuala's amazing journey was almost foiled just 120 miles from London.
The motor cycle which had carried the brave couple all the way from Sydney across some of the most dangerous countries in the world, was stolen in Wales. British and Welsh media swung into action resulting in not only the bike's safe return, but the Trish Foundation being the recipient of many online donations from England and Wales.
Ralph and Fionnuala were determined to finish their journey to London, returning to Wales and completing the remaining 120 miles.
"We were gutted when we realised the bike had been stolen," Ralph said. "The Gwent Police in Wales made a concerted effort with media assistance and we were overwhelmed by the number of emails and offers of assistance we received."
Ralph and Fionnuala's inspirational journey, which was fully endorsed by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, saw them sleeping in the open air at the edge of a village at the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.
"We were made feel welcome and we sat in the middle of nowhere drinking tea in a mud hut," Ralph said. "Fionnuala wore a burka."
"All the men carried guns and I was taken into the women's compound," Fionnuala said. "It was an amazing experience. There were fifteen women all elaborately dressed and very happy."
'We Ride 4 MS' took Ralph and Fionnuala to a developmentally disabled school in a Malaysian village where the children had never seen a Westerner.
"The people in Iran were incredibly generous and some of the Pakistan people are the most friendly we have ever met," Ralph said. "The Iranians completely serviced our bike, gave us petrol and accommodation free of charge and even took time off work to take us around. We couldn't even make a comment because we would be given something. It became embarrassing."
The Ride was supported by local MS Societies in most of the countries visited. Media support was substantial and various fundraising activities took place in each country.
"Ralph and Fionnuala's Ride was ambitious, daring and inspirational," said Foundation Director Roy Langsford. "They certainly achieved their goals of raising funds for research and awareness of this disease. The Foundation is most grateful for their tremendous support."
Congratulations Ralph and Fionnuala on your incredible achievement!