Joseph Dierkhising has some good reasons for riding in the BP MS 150 this year. “My step-mother was diagnosed with MS about 10 years ago,” he said. “By riding in this event I hope to increase awareness of the disease itself.” Dierkhising, who has been with BP since August, has another reason he wants to help in the fight against multiple sclerosis. “Secondly, I want to raise money to help with research, because there are new medications being produced and there are a lot of people doing great work,” he said. “It is a really important issue for our family because the year before my stepmother was diagnosed with MS her brother passed away from the disease.” Dierkhising, a geophysicist who works in exploration for BP Gulf of Mexico, will be riding in his first BP MS 150 and has already raised $1,250. “My goal is $2,500 so I can reach $5,000 with BP’s generous matching program. It’s important to raise money for this cause, and I want to do my part to make sure the researchers have the ability to help find a cure,” he said. The California native had never heard of the annual cycling event until he spent a summer as an intern at BP in Houston. When he was hired at BP, he immediately signed up for the ride, which occurs April 16-17 and covers 180 miles from Houston to Austin. “I really encourage everyone to get involved, either by volunteering, by riding or by making a donation,” he said. “It can make a difference.” BP has been the title sponsor of the BP MS 150 ride for 16 years, and Team BP riders have contributed over $16 million to help end MS, a disease that disrupts the flow of information in the central nervous system and affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. Those who wish to donate can do so by clicking here.