Since then, he has ridden every year and has raised $55,000. Luongo has good reasons for making the ride from Houston to Austin, his father and several other relatives have been battling the disease for years.
Luongo, 26, also hopes his story will motivate others to donate or to participate in the annual ride, which raises money to fight a disease affecting more than 400,000 people in the United States.
A native of Long Island, New York, he joined BP in 2014 – just a few days too late to take part in that year’s bike ride.
He had never heard of the ride until he got to Houston and was thrilled when he realized there was an event he could take part in to help fight MS.
"This disease has been in my family my whole life," he said. "And then when I began my career with BP and find out they are the title sponsor of this event; it seems like everything was just meant to be."
Luongo was a young child when his father learned he had MS. Since then, many members of his immediate family have been diagnosed with the disease
Luongo said the medical research supported by the BP MS 150 continues to pay off and has much promise for the future.
“The funds we raise enable researchers to conduct new studies, allowing us to find out more about the disease which is leading to better medications,” he said.
“There has been some amazing progress that has been made, new medications are becoming available that are significantly improving the lives of people living with MS.”
Luongo said he constantly tells people about the BP MS 150 and how important a donation can be.
“I love that my company, BP, is the title sponsor of such a huge event that means so much to so many people. The funds and awareness generated through this event makes all the difference for people living with MS, including my family.”
Luongo, who works for BP America, admits the ride can be a grueling effort.
“I ride because I can, there are so many people living with MS that wish they could ride a bike, but they can’t,” he said. “Although it can be quite difficult to ride from Houston to Austin, and struggle up those hills, it is nothing in comparison to the people with MS that may struggle every single day. If they can deal with it their whole life, I can do it for a single weekend, that’s why I am going to keep riding as long as I am physically able.”