Magazine Feature / People

Sisters ride for MS and mom

Beth Clark (BA ’00) and Laura “Lauri” Sawyer (BA ’92) sisters with the maiden name of Washington, live on different coasts and are separated by eight years in age. Also, because their mom, Karin, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when Clark was 10 and Sawyer was in her first year at DU, they had extremely different childhoods.

And yet, they say that MS has made them as close as any two sisters can be.

“We are much closer than we would have been had we not faced this,” says Clark.

The two women have made their mom’s MS a rallying point and vocation.

Today, Clark is marketing director for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society San Diego/Orange County chapter. One of her duties is to help organize the annual MS Bay to Bay Bike Tour, a two-day ride from Irvine to Mission Bay, Calif.

Sawyer, an international litigation and arbitration attorney in New York City, rides and fundraises for MS in honor of her mom. And for the second year in a row, she and her husband, Reid Sawyer, are training for the ride organized by her sister.

This year’s ride is in October. Sawyer hopes to raise more than the $5,000 she raised last year.

“I’m not an athlete,” says Sawyer. “I do it for the fundraising.”

And their mom gets in the act, too. She lives in a nursing home in their Iowa hometown, but she listens to her daughters’ stories and even contributes to the cause. 

“Mom is my biggest contributor,” says Sawyer. “She doesn’t have an income but gives from her social security checks, and she gives substantially.”

Sawyer says that the rides can be tough, but her mom helps get her over the hills.

“When I ride, I think about the fact that she can’t. When I’m struggling to get up a hill, I think, ‘At least I’m enjoying this beautiful day on a bike, something Mom hasn’t been able to do in 20 years.’”

To learn more about the bike tours, visit: To learn more about Clark’s and Sawyer’s efforts, visit:

Comments are closed.