HOUSTON, TX, April 7, 2014—When the annual BP MS 150 charity bike ride to benefit multiple sclerosis takes off from Houston this Saturday, Susman Godfrey LLP’s “Swift Justice” team will number 20 – including the event’s #1 fundraiser, firm founder Stephen Susman.
Susman, 73, will make his fifth appearance in the race, joining Susman Godfrey partners, associates, family and friends from the firm’s offices in Houston, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. As the top fundraiser in last year’s event, Susman earned the right to wear the coveted #1 bib at this year’s race and lead the riders across the finish line in Austin. The legendary litigator opted to share that honor, however, when he learned who had come in second.
Former Wedge Group CEO Jim Tidwell had been a dedicated supporter of the BP MS 150 ever since his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For nine of the 11 years in which he participated, Tidwell was the event’s top fundraiser, raising a total of more than $1.5 million to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In May 2013 – just weeks after the 2013 BP MS 150 – Tidwell died of pancreatic cancer.
“When we learned that donations made in Jim’s memory had made him the second-highest fundraiser,” Susman said, “we knew we had to do something to honor his tireless devotion to this cause.”
With the Swift Justice team’s support, Susman and several team members made personal contributions in Tidwell’s name so that his fundraising total would match Susman’s total. The result: For the first time in the history of the BP MS 150, the event will have two #1 fundraisers.
Susman plans to carry the tribute even further. Throughout the bike ride, he will sport a special team jersey that features Tidwell’s name and his contributions to MS fundraising.
“We are all united in our efforts to find a cure for this terrible disease,” Susman said, noting that this year marks the 30th BP MS 150 bike ride. “As we celebrate the 30th ride, it is fitting that we should honor a man who devoted so much of his life to finding a cure for MS.”
Swift Justice Team Captain Trey Peacock noted that this year’s MS 150 will be the ninth BP MS 150 in which Swift Justice has participated. In that time, the Susman Godfrey team has raised more than $800,000 to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“In 2013, we surpassed our goal of $220,000 and achieved our goal of becoming one of the top 10 fundraising teams,” Peacock said. “For this year’s ride, we hope to set a new record and raise $250,000 while increasing awareness of this worthwhile cause.”
The 180-mile BP MS 150 is the nation’s top fundraising ride for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The two-day, Houston-to-Austin ride attracts thousands of riders, who join together to raise both money and awareness. Since its inception in 1985, the BP MS 150 has raised approximately $175 million for MS research, programs and services.