HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Paul Pelland was a long-distance motorcycle competitor and contended in endurance races all over the country. However, during a rally in 2003, Pelland had his first multiple sclerosis (MS) attack.
“Halfway through the event, I started having problems with my hands. I started having a lot of memory, confusion issues. And something wasn’t right,” said Pelland. “I didn’t know what it was at the time. But eventually, I was diagnosed with MS.”
Over time, Pelland learned to cope with his symptoms, encouraging him to ride again; but this time, for a cause.
“Instead, I decided that I would document riding a million miles on my motorcycle for MS. And now I travel the country as a patient advocate,” said Pelland.
Pelland teamed up with nonprofits all over the country, one of them being MS Views & News, an organization that is currently visiting small suburban and rural communities across the country, educating and providing resources to those affected by MS.
“The reason for this is that there are people who are living outside of the metropolitan areas that just simply are not getting information that they need to know concerning their multiple sclerosis,” said Stuart Schlossman, president and founder of MS Views & News, who was diagnosed with MS many years ago.
“The medical community was not giving me the information that I needed — that I decided to say, ‘hey, let me get out there. Look at all the people that are out there that don’t know about it,'” said Schlossman.
And so in Hagerstown, Schlossman invited the community to hear about Pelland’s story as well as learn more about the advancements in MS treatments from a physician assistant.
“It’s a nice thing to be able to have all these different options. Some have more safety issues than others. Some have more side effects than others,” said Sarah Jamieson, a physician assistant at Comprehensive Neurology & Sleep Medicine in Frederick, Maryland.