AFL Women’s Britt Gibson of the Brisbane Lions will ride 100 kilometres in MS Queensland’s MS Brissie to the Bay bike ride this June to help raise awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS). Britt was inspired to complete the ride by her mother Megan’s battle with MS, which began when she was diagnosed four years ago, when she was 50 years old. Before her mum’s diagnosis, Britt admits she was unaware of what people with MS live with each day. “I knew it was serious because you hear things about MS but I really didn’t know the severity of it. What it actually does to people… I had no idea of their day-to-day struggles or what they would go through,” Britt said.
Megan, like her daughter, enjoyed physical work but soon after her diagnosis had to cut back. Her body had started to feel numb and tingled, her eyesight worsened and her judgment and memory became blurry. She often felt tired and unwell. “My mum is a very headstrong lady. Being away from home is extremely hard, and not being able to help her do little things.”
Because MS symptoms do not respond well to heat, Megan lives in Tasmania, travelling to Queensland for the first time last year to watch her daughter play in the inaugural AFLW grand final at Metricon Stadium. “Mum always encouraged me to follow my dream as a footballer, especially when playing with the boys as a child.” “She always stuck by me, always encouraged me to play with the boys and look where I am now. She’s the glue to our family, the glue to our little community back home.”
Riding for her Mum, Britt says she loves cycling but has never tackled a long distance ride. “It’s going to hurt a little bit, so I better get training.” On Sunday 17 June, the ride aims to raise $1.3 million to support Queenslanders living with MS, with more than 5,500 cyclists expected to take part. This year, MS Brissie to the Bay celebrates its’ 28th birthday, with various courses for all skill levels.
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