Extreme conditions for a cause: our MS 150 team’s huge success

Article written for Land O’Lakes, Inc.’s internal website. See the PDF version here.

June 25, 2017

Think back a few weekends ago when the summer’s first severe thunderstorm hit the Midwest. Winds, lightning, hail and rain peppered cities across Minnesota and Wisconsin. While many of us likely took shelter in our basements, more than 55 employees, their family members and friends pushed through the extreme conditions on their bikes for the final leg of the MS 150 Ride.

Riders of all ages, from across the country and company biked from Duluth to Minneapolis on June 10-11 and raised over $38,000 for the Upper Midwest Multiple Sclerosis Society. This is the third year employees formed a Land O’Lakes team which has come a long way-from raising juster under $10,000 in 2015 to nearly $40,000 in 2017.

Kevin Krueger, associate marketing manager for Purina, started the team when he joined Land O’Lakes three years ago after leading a team in his previous job.

“It’s a fun team-building experience and I enjoy meeting people who I never would’ve otherwise,” Kevin says.

MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide and currently has no cure. Almost all Land O’Lakes bikers can recall someone they know who has this disease and the money they raised for the MS 150 Ride will help fund progress in MS research, as well as programs and services that help people affected by the disease.

“My aunt [who has MS] lives a relatively normal life thanks largely to drugs that were brought to the market through research funded by the MS Society,” says David Lemons, plant controller in Tulare, California. “One hundred and fifty miles, some phone calls and emails to raise money feels like a small price to pay for the quality of life that she has.”

Although riding 75 miles a day can seem daunting, riders bike at their own pace and take breaks throughout the trip. Matt Hruska, financial analyst for Purina, participated in the MS 150 Ride for the first time and says the spectators and people he met along the way motivated him to keep going.

“One of my favorite moments from the weekend were the small groups of people that would cheers us on and hold signs from their driveways along the ride,” Matt says. “You really get to see the impact and appreciation the community has for what you are doing.”

Timaria Hammond, transportation planner for Supply Chain, agrees that the camaraderie and the cause make the ride worth the distance.

“You make so many friends and overcome extreme weather, body and mental challenges. It’s amazing!” Timaria says. “I think everyone at Land O’Lakes should try it at least once.”

The team already has 10 riders signed up for next year and hopes to break their record for participants for the 2018 ride. If you’re interested in joining and riding for the cause, email Kevin Krueger.

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