Phil Keoghan is best known for his role as host of television’s reality show “The Amazing Race,” which has won 12 Emmy Awards, and concluded its 20th season in May. But Keoghan has also dedicated a great deal of time and energy—both physical and mental—on raising awareness of, and funding for, multiple sclerosis. “MS affects people in so many different ways, but I like the idea that because it is a disease that takes movement away from people, we encourage people to move and to fight back, whether it’s creating awareness, raising funds, or taking a stand,” he says.
It was Keoghan’s lifelong passion for cycling that led to his interest in MS. He and his wife Louise, who live in Los Angeles, were asked to sponsor a local cycling team in Santa Monica that happened to be supported by the National MS Society. Part of that team’s mission was to ride in the Bike MS ride in Ventura, California, every year to raise money for MS. “Up to that point, I really did not know much about MS at all,” Keoghan says. “I had heard of MS but my understanding of the disease was very limited.” That was back in 2005.
By 2009, Keoghan had committed to biking 3,500 miles from Los Angeles to New York —a trip chronicled in the documentary film, The Ride, which raised more than half a million dollars toward finding a cure for MS. So what happened between those two points in time?
A LIFE-CHANGING BIKE RIDE
“I took part in my first MS ride, and really was hooked to continue doing it because of the people I met who live with the disease,” Keoghan recalls. “My understanding of MS increased tremendously. I got to understand how complicated of a disease it was, and how differently it affects each person.” The MS rides in particular, he says, captured some of the daredevil streak for which Keoghan is known.
At the age of 40 he co-wrote a book called NOW: No Opportunity Wasted, about creating a sort of extreme bucket list of activities to do before you die, such as dining atop an active volcano or renewing wedding vows underwater (both of which Keoghan has done).