Shemar Moore and his mother courtesy National MS Society Shemar Moore and his mother courtesy National MS Society

As Criminal Minds' Derek Morgan, Shemar Moore has never backed down from a fight. Such is also the case in real life, as the actor helps to raise awareness and funding for MS by participating in this coming weekend's Bike MS: Southern California Ride 2008.

Moore was led to put his pedals where his mouth by his mother, who 10 years ago was diagnosed with MS. "She was having a tough time, and I felt like my hands were tied because I wasn't aware enough or couldn't trust what the doctors were telling us," he shares. Three years ago, some Criminal Minds crew members who were avid cyclists clued Moore into Bike MS. Besides raising money and awareness, Moore's participation put him in touch with a community of people offering answers and solid information.

Having since secured proper treatment and one hip replacement surgery later Moore's mother is more ambulatory than he once dared to hope. "I was an only child raised by a single mom and I thought she was indestructible, and now she's kind of found her 'kryptonite'" in MS, he says. "But she's not going to break. That's not an option if i have anything to say about it."

Instead, he smiles, "She's dancing in my kitchen and walking stairs. She has certain symptoms, yes, so there are days when she stays in bed. But other days she wants to go to a ball game or go swimming."

For more information on Bike MS and other ways you can help, visit www.BikeMSsocal.org. - Matt Mitovich