SOURCE: National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Lone Star Chapter

July 18, 2007 08:00 ET

National MS Society, Lone Star Chapter Gears Up for 18th Annual Valero MS 150 Bike Tour

Thousands of Cyclists Expected to Bike to the Beach in October

SAN ANTONIO, TX--(Marketwire - July 18, 2007) - The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Lone Star Chapter celebrates the 18th year for the San Antonio-to-Corpus Christi Valero MS 150 Bike Tour, which raises funds for multiple sclerosis (MS) research and programs. This year, more than 3,500 cyclists are expected to join the movement and bike to the beach to raise more than $1.6 million to end the devastating effects of MS.

The 2007 Valero MS 150, presented by H-E-B, will again take off from the AT&T Center, home of the 2007 NBA World Champions the San Antonio Spurs, on Saturday, Oct. 20 and head to Coastal Bend College in Beeville for an overnight stay. On Day Two of the Tour, cyclists will head to Corpus Christi to cross the finish line at the Texas State Aquarium.

Riders and teams from across the United States take part in the annual event. In 2006, cyclists broke fund-raising records by raising more than $1.5 million to benefit the Lone Star Chapter and its services to the 17,000 individuals in 141 Texas counties affected by MS. People of all ages participated in the record-breaking event; the youngest rider was 6 years old, while the oldest participant was 93 years of age.

"The Valero MS 150 Bike Tour continues to grow each year, in participation and fund-raising," says Tony Ralf, vice president of the South Texas region of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Lone Star Chapter. "The funds raised from this event allow us to assist the thousands of Texans living with MS."

Valero Energy Corporation, a Fortune 500 company based in San Antonio, has long been a partner in fighting MS. The company's first bike team was formed in 1995 and Valero joined the MS 150 as a sponsor in 2000. Team Velo Valero has grown into the largest team in members and in fund-raising efforts. The team was honored with the top-fundraising team award for raising more than $200,000, which was double of the previous year's amount. Bill Klesse, chief executive officer and chairman for Valero, received the overall individual fund-raising award for his contribution of more than $36,000. In addition to the cycling team, Valero employees also contribute through volunteering along the Tour route, at breakpoints and at the Start and Finish Lines.

The Valero MS 150 Bike to the Beach is one of three fund-raising rides that the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Lone Star Chapter hosts in Texas, including the North Texas SAM'S CLUB MS 150 in May and the BP MS 150 from Houston to Austin in April. All three are regarded by cyclists as the premier rides in Texas, with experienced management, well-coordinated routes, and special attention to riders' safety and comfort.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body and stops people from moving. Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S., and 2.5 million worldwide.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Lone Star Chapter

MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn't. We help each person address the challenges of living with MS and are dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. The Lone Star Chapter serves more than 17,000 Texans affected by multiple sclerosis. Charity Navigator honored the Lone Star Chapter with four stars -- its highest award for outstanding financial and service excellence. The Lone Star Chapter has offices in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Corpus Christi. We are people who want to do something about MS now. Join the movement at

Studies show that early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can reduce future disease activity and improve quality of life for many people with multiple sclerosis. Talk to your health care professional and contact the National MS Society at or 1-800-344-4867 to learn about ways to help manage multiple sclerosis and about current research that may one day reveal a cure.

About Valero Energy Corporation

Valero Energy Corporation is a Fortune 500 company based in San Antonio, with approximately 22,000 employees and 2006 revenues of more than $90 billion. The company owns and operates 17 refineries throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean with a combined throughput capacity of approximately 3.1 million barrels per day, making it the largest refiner in North America. Valero is also one of the nation's largest retail operators with approximately 5,800 retail and branded wholesale outlets in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean under various brand names including Valero, Diamond Shamrock, Shamrock, Ultramar, and Beacon. Please visit for more information.

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