For Wes Dellinger, pedaling through the winding tree-lined roads of Houston is when he feels a sense of comfort and relief.
“Being in the Texas heat, the wind blows a little harder when you are on a bike and the air is a little cooler,” said Wes, Regional Director of Firm Growth and Leadership Development at Guardian in Texas. “The roads have a special kind of silence. I just fell in love with it.”
But he wasn’t always such an avid cyclist.
Years before, his father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and was hit hard by the disease. When Wes himself was diagnosed with MS in 2006, he had to completely rethink his health.
Watching his dad go from cane to walker to wheelchair to bedridden triggered a fight in him to overcome the misperceptions that often accompany the disease that affects over two million people.
So when Wes’s Guardian colleagues, who were participating in charitable MS rides in his honor, challenged Wes to join them—he took them up on it. He started to get in shape and logged over a thousand miles of running and biking.
“You can live a full, normal and healthy life with MS,” said Wes.
Wes’s charitable passion is the Bike MS Bay to Bay ride in California, which benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a philanthropy that he got involved with after he lost his father to MS in 2012.
Wes’s two-day trek in the Bay to Bay MS ride down the coast from Irvine to San Diego was a personal triumph, but what really mattered was the money he raised for advancements in MS treatment.
Thanks to advancements in research and therapies brought about in part from funds raised through Bike MS donations, Wes can now take a tiny pill each night to manage his disease progression, instead of injection-based therapies that were previously the primary treatment method.
During his 23 years at Guardian, Wes has formed a community of caring colleagues who support each other, and this year, they are forming a Guardian bike team to participate in MS rides and raise money to combat the disease. “We wanted to give people in our community the opportunity to get together and cycle for a cause, which promotes health and vitality, and incorporates that mentality of everyone deserves a Guardian.”
Due to the Guardian for Good program and Guardian’s contribution to Bike MS, Wes’s fundraising effort has surpassed his wildest dreams. He’s been affiliated with Guardian for half his life and has experienced many proud moments, but this achievement is his proudest.
“I’m honored that with Guardian’s support, I will continue to be a Guardian for my family, my dad’s memory and the well-being of other people for years to come.”
This past year, we are proud to have demonstrated our commitment to service by contributing over $1 million to charitable causes through our employee giving campaign. The Guardian for Good program is a way for our colleagues to nominate their favorite charity for a special grant.