Dan M. has been riding his snowmobile for MS ever sense 1980. What started out as a ride for a good time and a good cause became a big event for his town. He has been riding for ms almost 25 years now and has raised over $50,000 in that time. I love to see people having fun while helping others. Keep it up Dan.
TOWN OF BURLINGTON — Dan Meyerhofer started leading snowmobile rides for an annual multiple sclerosis fundraiser in the late 1980s simply because he loved being out on the trails. But as the years went by, the Town of Burlington man kept coming back for a different reason: the people.
“These are adult people, people that have their lives established and they’re just interrupted (by multiple sclerosis). … It’s just devastating to watch. People lose their nerves and muscles and they just lose all muscle tone and they just deteriorate,” Meyerhofer said, adding some lose the ability to walk. “So you ride for the cause and the cause is to make enough money so we can keep research going on.”
Meyerhofer has volunteered for the snowmobile fundraiser for about 25 years and, in the process, he’s raised more than $50,000 for multiple sclerosis research, programs and support services. He was honored for those efforts at this year’s fundraiser, held in late January in Lac du Flambeau.
“The amount of money that Dan has raised is remarkable and truly makes a difference in the lives of those affected by multiple sclerosis,” commonly called MS, said Colleen Kalt, president and CEO of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Wisconsin Chapter, which holds the MS Snowmobile Tour fundraiser each year. “(Dan’s) volunteer efforts on the tour all these years as a mechanic and a guide (have) made it a great experience for so many riders.”
Meyerhofer, a 68-year-old retired heavy equipment operator, got involved with the tour after an acquaintance asked him to consider being a guide; Meyerhofer had been an avid snowmobiler for a long time and he was very familiar with trails in northern Wisconsin. He told the acquaintance yes and the rest, as they say, is history, he said.
Meyerhofer started as a guide, leading groups of 20 to 25 people as they rode about 200 miles in two days. For the last few years, he’s instead served as a Snowmobile Tour mechanic, picking up and fixing snowmobiles that break on the ride, he said.
The tour draws about 120 riders each year, including “people with MS that still ride,” Meyerhofer said.
Those with MS who can’t ride by themselves often go with someone or are taken along in a trail groomer,
Ride participants are typically asked to raise at least $650 each and Meyerhofer has always done his part with fundraising too. He has raised at least $2,000 each year he’s been part of the ride, he said. In 1999, he raised $8,300, more than anyone else that year, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Wisconsin Chapter.
Many of those dollars came from local businesses, Meyerhofer said.
“I go see them all personally,” he said.
He has no plans to stop that, or his tour volunteering, any time soon, he said.