When a devastating diagnosis forced a Massachusetts mother of three to slow down, she knew she had to find a way to catch up to her husband who started riding his bike to help fight the disease. After support from a friend and donor, they are now able to pedal together.
Josie Benassi, of Reading, was officially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009. Issues with balance and fatigue became so severe, she thought she would never be able to ride a bike again.
She watched on the sidelines when her husband Joe raised money for a cure and participated in his first Bike MS ride four years ago, but that did not last.
"He was like, 'I don’t know if you’re going to be able to do it,' and I’m like, 'I can totally do it,'" Josie Benassi recalled.
The next year Josie rode with her husband on a tandem bike, pedaling through the unpredictability of the disease, but it was tiring.
"It just got tough for her," Joe Benassi said. "She would ask me to take breaks and they were becoming more and more frequent."
What they needed was a bike with a separate chain which would allow Josie to rest while Joe kept going. However, the bike came with a hefty price tag of more than $6,000.
"I said I can do it so we did and we didn’t turn back," donor Troy DiNapoli said.
DiNapoli, a friend and businessman with BayState Air, did not just pay for the bike, he is riding with the team this year. He will participate along with the Benassi's in the Cape Cod Getaway ride is this weekend.
Even at times when life seems all uphill, the couple says they could not be more grateful for the support, knowing the ride and the battle is a whole easier with a little company.
"There’s always something you can do to move ahead of whatever illness is holding you back," Josie Benassi said.
You can learn more about the ride and their team by going to Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway 2017.