I have permission from the "Belleville Post" newspaper to copy word for word on my web page. The article you are about to read is from April 16, 1998 by Paul O'Keefe the associate editor. It is on the front page. The article has been modified a bit.
"Big Mike rides again in MS bicycle tour"
Dowd helps in fight against the crippling disease
* "Big Mike" is at it again, raising money to help the fight against Multiple Sclerosis by riding his bicycle in tours and getting the backing of sponsors.
* "Big Mike stands for big heart or big smile,"Michael Dowd said. "I lived in Belleville for 26 years. I live with my awesome mother. I am deaf in my right ear, half-deaf and wear a hearing-aid in my left ear, blind in my right eye and wear glasses. Just giving you an idea of what I have here,"he added.
* "I have been riding in MS bike tours since 1990. I ride in two tours a year," he noted.
* Dowd is again seeking sponsors for an upcoming tour to help fight MS. He hopes this year to break his previous marks.
* "It all started back in 1988. I wanted to see this girl after going to summer camp. Her name is Rachael and she lived in Newton. My mother went out that day and did not even know I went,"he recalled.
* * * Dowd rode his bike to Newton that day, thinking it would take just a couple of hours from the "way the map looked."
* It ended up taking six hours. "I was so tired when I reached there. I took a cab back home late in the day, and it cost me a good $65.00."
* The next year, Dowd said, he took the train to Newton. He did not, however, forget the long bike trip as an achievement.
* "In the Summer of 1990, I got a job at Fewsmith's Church. I saw a really small article about a bike tour from Ramsey, NJ to Port Jervis, NY. It was called the Diet Pepsi MS-100, a two day 100 mile bike tour. So, I bought a new bike fast," he remembered.
* The rest is history, a history of raising money to fight this crippling disease.
* Dowd raised $1,370.00 for MS in 1996 and another $1,647.00 in 1997 by peddling in the tours. He hopes to break his record this year by finding more sponsors.
* In August 1996, Dowd received an award from the Mid-Jersey Chapter for outstanding Achievement, recognizing his consistent obtaining of backers for his efforts, promoting tours on the internet and soliciting donations in Belleville.
* "I'd like to thank those who have been helping me since 1990. The most help came from Belleville Elks 1123, Knights of Columbus 835, Fewsmith's Church and its members, my sister and mother and their friends from ADP, FMBA 29, the Belleville Township Council past and present, attorney Robert Giordano and all my friends around the Belleville area," Dowd said.
* "My goal for 1998 is $2,000. I am right now at $506.00 as of April 6th," Dowd said.>
* "There are six stores right now happy to have my Big Mike Dowd MS-170 collection pledge bottles. Help me reach my goal of $2,000 for the MS Society," Dowd asked.
* The stores with Dowd's bottles are Sunsational Tan, The Chiropractic Wellness Center, Happy Daze, Shoppers Express, Corbo and Marbach's and Joey's Pizzeria.
* Every penny will go to the MS Society.
* MS is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the nervous system. The progress and severity of the disease can not be predicted. Symptoms range from numbness to paralysis and blindness.
* Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, but the unpredictable physical and emotional effects can last forever.
* "With your help, I am hoping to make a difference in the lives of those who have MS," Dowd said.
* Dowd has put the progress if his effort on the internet at http://pages.prodigy.com/airwaves/ His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
* "Now it is time to go bike training. See you all on the road. Smile always," Big Mike said.