By Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Jo BridgwaterJune 13, 2011
FORT EUSTIS, Va., June 15, 2011 -- Capt. Theresa Giorno is no stranger to fitness. As a company commander for the Special Troops Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th Sustainment Brigade, daily Physical Training is a non-negotiable part of her day. Each morning begins with a PT session, Giorno exercising alongside her Soldiers. But when the duty day is finished a different level of fitness begins.
On June 5, 2011, Giorno completed a 150-mile two-day (the National Multiple Sclerosis Society cycling series) ride on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, her husband and training partner, cycling by her side.
The 27-year old transportation corps officer joined the Army in 2003, the same year she began cycling. The rides are anything but short, low-mileage bursts.
“The event is 150 miles over two days,” she said. “Each day I rode 75 miles, beginning and ending at Cape Charles, Va.”
“I convinced my husband to join me on my rides last year,” she explained. “We rode in a North Carolina MS 150. It was the first for my husband. He can be busy with training to be a paramedic, but we tend to do a long ride on a weekend to get as many miles in as possible."
"They range anywhere from 20-50 mile rides," she said. "During the week, time is limited, so I will try to ride after work twice a week with a short distance of around 15 miles.”
This is not the first time she has cycled in support of MS. A commitment to the cause has taken her across the country.
“This is my sixth MS 150 ride,” she said. “In addition to Virginia, I’ve ridden in Wisconsin, and North Carolina. This is the second MS 150 I have completed here.”
Giorno’s motivation for cycling has taken a personal turn due to one of her Soldiers receiving a diagnosis of the disease.
“This year Specialist Timothy Edwards was my motivation to train and ride,” she said. “He recently found out he has Multiple Sclerosis. It was thinking about him, and his family, that got me through the hard portions of the event.”
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, or NMSS, defines Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, as a chronic, unpredictable neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. MS is different from muscular dystrophy, or MD, which is a group of disorders that cause progressive and irreversible wasting away of muscle tissue.
Although MD has some symptoms in common with MS, such as weakness and problems with walking, MD affects the muscles directly while MS affects the central nervous system.
The NMSS further states, in the United States today, there are approximately 400,000 people with MS with 200 more people diagnosed every week. Worldwide, MS is thought to affect more than 2.1 million people.
The two-day, 150-mile cycling event tested this Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran’s mettle. It was Edwards who inspired her to push through the tough spots and complete the demanding ride.
“Specialist Edwards, the ride went well,” said Giorno. “I will have to sit down with you and tell you all the details. You were great motivation. When I started to seriously suck, which happened a few times, especially on hills, I thought about you. It got me to the finish line and I finished out strong.”
For more information about MS, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/index.aspx