More

A bike that mimics multiple sclerosis presents the disease on a new level.

A clever campaign just might help someone you know.

A bike that mimics multiple sclerosis presents the disease on a new level.

What do you see in this image?

All images via Grey Australia/YouTube.


Looks pretty straightforward, right? A classic 10-speed bike, like you might find in your parent's garage. Nothing exceptional.

But things aren't always how they seem at first glance. In fact, a quick ride on this bike would throw a lot of people off, and that's exactly why a group of Australian designers, neurologists, and advocates created it.

This bicycle was designed to mimic the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

You may know someone who has it. (The disease, not the bike.)

Roughly 2.5 million people out there know what it's like to live with multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord, making it hard for the brain to properly talk to the body.

It's mysterious and often frustrating, especially considering that researchers are still unsure what causes it. That, mixed with its unpredictable nature as a disease, makes it hard for people to grasp what it's like to have ... until now.

Here are five clever ways they did it:

Bike = MS? You better believe it. Here we go.

1. This bike looks great on the outside, but the inside tells a different story.

One of the most frustrating parts of MS is that it's considered a hidden disease. You can look completely normal and healthy on the outside but actually be suffering on the inside.

It's one of the reasons many people can't understand what their loved ones are going through. Diagnosing MS is no cakewalk either; its symptoms can be so hard to see that it's hard to determine whether a person has it or not.

This bike looks sharp and ready to hit the road, just like someone diagnosed with MS. But just wait.

2. Be prepared to feel wobbly.


With MS, the instability is real, and this bike was designed with that in mind. The makers purposely built it with crooked wheels, a misaligned frame, and balky tires to create the effect. It's incredibly hard to find your balance when you're riding, and if you took it for a spin, there would be a good chance you'd end up on the asphalt.

People living with MS could relate since they often have problems with walking and feel dizziness.

3. You never know what's going to happen next.


Symptoms of MS vary widely from person to person, but not knowing what's going to happen or when it's going to happen is a common theme.

On the bike, the designers shifted gears, took out teeth on the rear cassette, and used heavy parts to create a jarring, unpredictable feeling when riding.

4. The brakes, seat, and handlebars recreate numbing.


Ever sit in a position too long and your legs go numb? That's sort of what it's like for someone living with MS. Only it's not just your leg. It's different parts of your body, all the time.

Losing sensation in your feet and hands makes you feel like you have to do everything harder to make it work. To replicate this feeling on the bike, after they used thin handlebar tape with ball bearings wrapped underneath, and made the seat super uncomfortable. Hang on or sit for a while and you'll go numb.

5. It takes so much more effort to go anywhere.


For some of us, it's hard enough to roll out of bed and face the day when we're feeling perfectly fine. Someone living with MS has to constantly fight through the day to make it through.

With all the alterations above, riding this bike is also a strain, to put it lightly.

Our bodies are machines, just like a bike.

When something is off, the body reacts and works to find a fix. With MS, there is no permanent fix, but there are ways to ease symptoms and slow disease progression with medicine and physical therapy.

Most people won't get to ride this bike, and, of course, it's nothing compared to the challenge of actually having the disease.

But this unique approach might make MS easier to understand — both mentally and physically.

By improving awareness and relating it to something most people do understand (bikes!), it hopefully can allow people to see MS on a different level.

Created by cycling Paralympian Carol Cooke, bike mechanics, neurologists, folks living with MS, and Grey Australia, the campaign hopes to raise awareness for the disease in advance of the MS Melbourne Cycle in March 2016.

Watch the full campaign ad here:

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
via Amelia J / Twitter

Election Day is a special occasion where Americans of all walks of life come together to collectively make important decisions about the country's future. Although we do it together as a community, it's usually a pretty formal affair.

People tend to stand quietly in line, clutching their voter guides. Politics can be a touchy subject, so most usually stand in line like they're waiting to have their number called at the DMV.

However, a group of voters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received a lot of love on social media on Sunday for bringing a newfound sense of joy to the voting process.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

Keep Reading Show less

Ah, the awkward joy of school picture day. Most of us had to endure the unnatural positioning, the bright light shining in our face, and the oddly ethereal backgrounds that mark the annual ritual. Some of us even have painfully humorous memories to go along with our photos.

While entertaining school picture day stories are common, one mom's tale of her daughter's not-picture-perfect school photo is winning people's hearts for a funny—but also inspiring—reason.

Jenny Albers of A Beautifully Burdened Life shared a photo of her daughter on her Facebook page, which shows her looking just off camera with a very serious look on her face. No smile. Not even a twinkle in her eye. Her teacher was apologetic and reassured Albers that she could retake the photo, but Albers took one look and said no way.

Keep Reading Show less