Beaverton teen raises more than $22,000 to honor dad with MS
Lili Rosebrook, 16, has raised more than $22,000 in the last four years for multiple sclerosis research in honor of her dad, Phil Rosebrook, 48, of Beaverton, who was diagnosed with MS in 2001. They both rode in the Bike MS: Willamette Valley, a two-day bike ride that raises money to find a cure for MS. Photographed at Western Oregon University in Monmouth on Aug. 2, 2019 Anna Reed, Statesman Journal
Lili Rosebrook hasn't lived in a world where her dad doesn't have multiple sclerosis.
And, at 16-years-old, she's taken it upon herself to make a difference.
MS is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system disrupting the flow of information between the brain and body. It affects nearly 1 million people in the United States, according to the National MS Society.
Phil Rosebrook, 48, was diagnosed with MS in 2001 when he had an MRI for a face twitch. After being diagnosed "quickly" and not having a brain tumor, he was in treatment for about eight years, he said.
Around that time, Phil noticed the problem with his foot.
He started having problems with his calf muscles while he was training for a marathon that progressed until he was no longer able to participate.
Today, Phil is unable to walk more than a mile until he starts to experience "foot drop," which prevents him from picking his foot up off the ground. Not being able to run, jog or hike like he used to led him to find another way to keep active — cycling.
That's when he found Bike MS: Willamette Valley in 2012.
Bike MS: Willamette Valley is an annual two-day bike ride, hosted by the National MS Society, that raises money to find a cure for the disease. The 35th event took place Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3-4, in Monmouth.
More than 500 people participated in the Willamette Valley ride, with approximately 6% coming from Marion and Polk counties, said Megan O’Neal, the public relations manager for the National MS Society.
It was the fourth time Lili and Phil, who traveled down from Beaverton, cycled in the event together. Lili has raised more than $22,000 and rode more than 300 miles across Oregon in about four years.
She first did Bike MS because she wanted to participate in the fun with her dad, but it quickly transformed into a passion for being a part of change.
"My dad has always been very optimistic about MS and the impact it has had on his life," she said. "I know how lucky my dad is, and I know how unlucky some other people are."
Phil said most of his days are good days, but others are tough. He has eye problems, often gets fatigued and goes to the doctor about 20 times each year. He's been stable for about 10 years and has had no new problems appear on his brain scans.
"I used to ride for my dad ... and now I have met all these other people, and I ride for those people as well," Lili said.
Phil's goals, aside from raising money and awareness, are to finish the ride, stay healthy and spend quality time with his daughter.
Bike MS events draw tens of thousands of participants nationally, raising more than $1.3 billion since it began in 1980. The money is used to fund research and find alternative treatments.
Phil said he would likely use a walker or a cane if it weren't for new treatments that have been discovered since he was diagnosed.
While having MS is terrible, Phil said he tries to show his kids that you can grow through adversity.
"It gives me a great sense of pride to see (Lili) embracing (Bike MS) and doing something really good with something really bad," he said.
Abby Luschei is the arts and entertainment reporter for the Statesman Journal and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-399-6747. To support her work, consider subscribing. Follow her on Twitter @abbyluschei or facebook.com/luscheiabby.
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