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Tauranga Mayor's personal loss sparks two-wheel charity drive

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Tauranga's new mayor is wasting no time putting his new role to a good cause.

Greg Brownless will be among those taking part in a Tour of Tauranga bike ride, designed to raise money for the Bay of Plenty Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Mr Brownless said while he was happy to help as part of his new role as mayor, the cause resonated with him on a personal level too.

The mayor's cousin suffers from multiple sclerosis and he has known several friends at various stages and versions of the condition.

''It brings it a bit closer to home,'' he said.

It could affect anyone of us. You don't know what's around the corner.
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless

Mr Brownless said while his cousin had it "mildly" and was making it work, a good friend had died from MS.

The mayor said any money raised to help fund research into MS was a good thing.

''It could affect any one of us. You don't know what's around the corner.''

Mr Brownless will cut the ribbon at the beginning of the event, which takes place at 17th Ave skate park this Sunday, October 30, before hopping on his bike and joining in on the 20km ride.

Bay of Plenty Multiple Sclerosis Society events and funding manager Rachelle Atherton said there was also an easier 10km ride designed for families with children.

''It's a fun bike ride just to raise the awareness and money for the society,'' she said.

This year, the fifth year for the Tour of Tauranga, the ride will be held on a new route taking riders from 17th Ave through to the Lakes area.

The society has about 160 members living with MS or Huntington's disease. Most are unable to take part in the ride but the event usually draws a crowd of about 100.

Ms Atherton said there would be a sausage sizzle and spot prizes on offer at the end of the rides.

What you need to know

What: Tour of Tauranga 2016.
Where: 17th Ave skate park.
When: Sunday, October 30. Registrations open from 7.30am. Ride starts at 9am.Why: To raise money and awareness for the Bay of Plenty Multiple Sclerosis Society.
What to bring: Your bike and money for donations, sausage sizzle or ice cream.

What is multiple sclerosis?

The term multiple sclerosis refers to multiple areas of scarring (sclerosis) scattered throughout the brain and spinal cord. These scars are the result of healing patches of inflammation that are the basic cause of damage to nerve fibres and of the suddenly appearing symptoms that are referred to as an attack, exacerbation or relapse. Patches of inflammation heal spontaneously over several weeks or months when symptoms may resolve completely or residual impairment may result, if they do not. The inflammation causes damage particularly to the insulating myelin sheath covering nerve fibres, but also damages the nerve fibres (axons) themselves.
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