Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

In a few weeks, Pat Potvin of Slave Lake will be riding in his 25th-straight MS 150, in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. It’s a two-day, 150-km ride from Leduc to Camrose and back.

The event is a fundraiser, to help with research into MS and support for people who have it. One of them is Potvin’s niece Des.

Pat’s first MS 150, in 2000 was a family affair, with wife Edith Mackenzie and their daughter Denise – 10 years old at the time, joining in. Denise is now a nurse with Doctors Without Borders, having recently served in Chad and now in Gaza. Edith most recently took part in an MS 150 using a recumbent bike, Pat says, which she found easier.

Joining Pat’s team (actually called Des’s Team) this year will be his nephew Marc and various other relatives and friends. Plus Pat’s son Robert, who is coming from the Netherlands to do the MS 150.

Having just turned 68, Pat doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He is retired (as of last week), but has lots to keep him busy, including making art and gardening. Plus training for the big bike ride.

“I’ve been on my spinner downstairs all winter,” he says. Road work on his bicycle could begin any day now.

Pat encourages others to think of giving the MS 150 a try.

“If anyone thinks they’re too old…. Nah! The key is training.”

This year’s MS 150 is on June 22 and 23. It’s a great social event as well as a fundraiser, Pat says. There’s lots of support, including regular stations offering snacks, drinks and bike repairs. Then there’s the supper at the Camrose rodeo grounds, where among other things, participants are introduced to people (some of them volunteers, some of them riding in the event) with MS.

The MS 150 gets around 2,000 participants these days, after humble beginnings in 1990. It aims to raise over $2 million this year.

If you’d like to donate, one way to do it is to go to the MS 150 website and search for Patrick Potvin, or Des’s Team. Or, email pat.potvin@gmail.com.

Pat Potvin, along with fellow MS 150 participants Edith Mackenzie and Denise Potvin, in 2000.
Pat Potvin, centre, with his teammates, lined up for a photo at the 2023 MS 150. This year will be his 25th time.