Lee Bender and the Ride For Lightning


Lee Bender is a skateboarder and professional vagabond. Raised in Indiana, Lee split his time between Arizona, Oregon and the road for years and eventually settled in the San Francisco Bay area. An Evo Sporty is his bike of choice. Inspired by a friend's rigid XL he sold off most of his old Honda stash a few years ago and bought his first Gnarly Davidson. A run-in with a distracted broad in an SUV left him with fewer injuries than a good skate session, but the insurance was enough to fund the construction of his new bike, another Evo Sporty. Lee's the first one to tell you he's no master fabricator. His bike was built by Rudy at Foundry Moto and has been a reliable road companion ever since. In 2007, Lee was diagnosed Multiple Sclerosis. The SUV didn't slow Lee down, and neither will MS.


MS is a disease which among other crippling symptoms includes loss of balance, numbness, vertigo and loss of coordination. Basically, it messes with all the motor skills needed to do the things that are central to Lee's life: skating, and riding motorcycles. There is an operation that Lee believes will help his condition, but it's not legal in the United States. Here's how Lee describes the operation:




It's called the Liberation procedure. An Italian doctor named Zamboni diagnosed his own wife with MS about five years ago. He said, "Fuck it, I'm gonna stop what I'm doing and figure this shit out." Well, a few months and a million and one tests later, he determined that his wife had narrowed jugular veins. Either from hereditary, or they were pinched between a muscle and bone. Dr. Zamboni opened the space where his wife's veins flowed and almost immediately she claimed that her hands and feet felt warmer. It made sense. Poor circulation to your body means cold parts, right? Basically, they feed a wire into your vein to the narrow part and either blow it up with a balloon or they insert a stent, which is like a chinese finger cuff and they leave it in place where the narrowed vein was. It returns the bloodflow back to normal and you are golden. So, a week or so later, her balance started getting better and her cognitive issues cleared up. She was seemingly back to normal. Amazed at his discovery, he tried this on a select group of his own patients from his personal practice in Italy. He found that some ridiculous percentage of patients with MS had narrowed veins, but not all. Keep in mind that MS is one of the most misdiagnosed diseases known to man. Anyhow, I forget the percentage, but close to 90 percent or more of his patients with MS that had the Liberation procedure started getting better. Balance, vision, numbness, etc. decreased, so the word slowly spread about this new technique. Some neurologist scoffed and really most people looked down on Dr. Zamboni and didn't believe his claims. Think about it, years and years of school, and practice, being brainwashed that one thing is one way, then having the rug pulled out from under you. We've all been there at one point I'm sure. So I can understand the medical world's speculation but, give it a chance, right? Slowly but surely, it's spreading. Poland, Bulgaria, India, even here in the States they are doing a study, but it's for ten people and it has already started. The hoops and red tape the FDA makes people jump through are generally understandable, but this is an old procedure, the same as angioplasty used on stroke victims. There's nothing different, it's not new, but since there will be 9.7 billion dollars lost per year by the four drug companies that make MS meds, it's banned, outlawed, looked down upon, etc. Now I'm not one to jump on a get fixed quick scheme, but, I personally met someone, a friend of a friend that had MS. See how I said the word "had"?  She went to Poland and paid to have her veins ballooned open, and same deal as the Italian doctor. Her vision became more vivid, her numbness and fatigue went away. I got an email from her saying she was doing backflips on her trampoline the other day. Something there's no way I could even think of doing today as a reasonably healthy 31-year-old. So yeah, sign me up.




Frustrated by Lee's situation, friends, skate- and motorcycle-industry coleagues and fans have rallied around him with various fundraising activities. ChopCult member Tim from Death Science (also a Revenge Run organizer) got wind of Lee's need and decided to put his energy to work with an event that could scare up some dough and pitch into the pot. There is a thread with all the details here but the broad strokes are this: Ride around the Carolinas for a couple days on old moonshining roads, camp out one night, then wrap it up day two at a bar with bands, booze and broads. The dates are October 15-16, 2010. There will be a massive raffle, and with a sponsor list like these guys have, nearly everyone is coming home with some good swag. You can details, sign up in advance and purchase swag on the Ride for Lightning blog. We'd like to wish Lee good luck and urge you to support the cause and help a fellow rider if you can/

More resources:

Lee's Blog

Buy a support deck from Real Skateboards

More about the Liberation Procedure

About MS

Comment with Facebook


Comment with Chopcult (18)

Commented on 8-30-2010 At 08:00 am

Up here in Canada, we pay for treatments through our taxes. This procedure isn't covered so my 2 cousins flew to Poland last winter and had it done on their own dime. No bullshit - It's changed thier lives, they got almost everything back. They don't ride, but one is back on his bicycle.

Good luck Lee

Commented on 8-30-2010 At 09:56 am

That's cool. Friend of mine has it. Loses the ability to paint occasionally and I will tell him of this.

Cool bike.


Commented on 8-30-2010 At 10:00 am

A mutual friend of Lee and myself told me about Lee's condition and I thought there has to be some way we can help. I personally have never even met Lee, but my good friend stressed his case and that's all I needed to hear, as I have had my fair share of needles and doctors.

Tim and I had been planning on putting together a fall run after the great response we received with the Revenge Run. Helping Lee out at the same time seemed like a natural fit and one in which we can hopefully get him some extra cash for the treatments in Poland. I cannot thank everyone enough for coming in as a sponsor and or participant for this event. The bigger issue is that even more folks need help in some form or another. If you have a few bucks to spare for a cause, help someone out. Never know when it might be you as the person in need, pay if forward.

Extra thanks to Biltwell and Chopcult. You guys were on board fast for both runs and we truly appreciate it.

Commented on 8-30-2010 At 11:00 am

I'll be ordering something to throw down for Lee. Never met him but I'm always down to help when I can. It sucks about big business getting stuff like this banned. Our gov't sure makes some f'd choices.

Commented on 8-30-2010 At 01:05 pm

Wow, whatta story! I received an education today. Thanks for the description that made sense. Not a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Big money is why the drug companies slow the approval process. The usual corporate greed. Where have we heard that before?? Gee, fifty bucks for a tee shirt????
Beside's, Lee has the best name ever invented!!!


Commented on 8-30-2010 At 02:36 pm

Dale - you're not talking about the swag we are selling for the run, are you? We definitely are NOT charging $50 for a t-shirt.... this isn't an ad for me or the RfL but you can check out all the pricing and what Lee is making for each purchase on the run site - if you have any other questions get up with me -

Bill, McGoo and everyone at the Chop Cult - THANKS! Thanks for everything!

Commented on 8-30-2010 At 03:40 pm

in advance, a huge thanks goes out to everyone involved. ralph tim bill mcgoo and everyone that helps or has helped! if you know anyone else with ms, please inform them of the procedure, i dont wanna sound all preachy, but the more of us that push to make this procedure legal, the easier it will be on others that are diagnosed in the future. its important to spread the word, cause this shit is the worst but with the possibility of skating again.... sign me up. thanks is appreciated.

Commented on 8-30-2010 At 04:34 pm

I hope to see Lee cruising around Sf on that sick sporty.

Commented on 8-31-2010 At 06:19 am

Ill be on the run. Glad to help and have some fun in the process!

Commented on 8-31-2010 At 06:45 am

Great story. Life is fragile.

Commented on 8-31-2010 At 08:13 am

This kind of info is never in the main stream media and should be. Our government kills so many people that could be healed though procedures or drugs. We may think that we don't have a voice, but every text to a congressman or senator really gives it all a chance. I would never wish anything bad on anyody but I alway wonder what would happen if one of the FDA board members got MS, would they take a chance on the procedure? Best to Lee and you can count on my support.

Commented on 8-31-2010 At 11:19 pm

That is a really amazing story, if the treatment works. Everyone with MS should sue the shit out of the US congress if it turns out to get validated. Crazy. Also, as a Canadian, who wouldn't root for a doctor named Zamboni??

Commented on 8-31-2010 At 11:24 pm

That is a really amazing story, if the treatment works. Everyone with MS should sue the shit out of the US congress if it turns out to get validated. Crazy. Also, as a Canadian, who wouldn't root for a doctor named Zamboni??

Commented on 9-5-2010 At 04:39 pm

Let me say that I for sure am sorry that Lee has MS, and while I do not know him that well he did strike me as a good sort, but this leaning on the good deads of others while appearing to be a vagabond, and signing up on this community as one is crap

Commented on 9-9-2010 At 09:56 pm

bsamarkinitsspot is a faggot

Commented on 9-9-2010 At 09:59 pm

...or are you just being funny?

I for one, don't get it

Commented on 9-9-2010 At 10:36 pm

I think you misread Lee's comment "...sign me up." He was talking about the procedure, not this site. Lee's been a member here since we started and your comment is out of line.

Commented on 9-10-2010 At 06:33 am

What's wrong with being a vagabond? If it weren't for my beautiful children, I'd "wander" the world around. I hate to see anyone loose the ability to do the things they love. If there is a way to fix it and I can help, then I will. It's also cool to see that we can do fun shit to help, party and ride, shit I bought a couple of those "FUCK MS" t-shirts. I don't think he's "leaning" on any community, I think his friends and the "chopper community" are simply helping their own, the way they know how, so 'Sign me up'.

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