TAMPA, Fla. - Kyle Byrant's day job is riding his tricycle across America to raise money and awareness for a disease that has hit home.
"Friedreich's Ataxia is a life-shortening, genetic neuromuscular disease that affects all muscle coordination from the toes to the finger tips. It has symptoms like scoliosis, diabetes, vision loss, hearing loss and life-shortening heart complications."
Kyle was diagnosed when he was 17 years old. "We were devastated. We were totally scared with what we found. We saw stuff like 'You'll be in a wheelchair soon. You're going to lose all ability to take care of yourself. You will likely die a premature death.'"
Instead of taking that information and giving up, Kyle got going. He discovered freedom on a tricycle and he could ride for mile after mile.
He also starting working for the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance, or FARA. "After I started working for FARA, I funded Ride Ataxia. We do rides all across the country. We have six locations right now, and we have rides from one to 50 miles."
The public is invited to join in the fundraising. He says he's helped raise $1.6 million so far. Kyle is in Tampa to talk about another one of FARA's fundraisers.
"In Tampa, were having the FARA Energy Ball. And it's happening September 8 at the A La Carte Pavilion. It's a big ball and its a whole lot of fun and it funds one third of FARA's budget."
"There's no stopping FA at this point, unfortunately. That's what were working to do and so my physical health is descending at a certain rate on a certain curve. What I'm trying to do is stay at the top of the curve, so I can be as healthy as I can in my situation."
As healthy as he can stay until one day, maybe the money he's helped raise, results in a treatment or a cure.
For more information on the ball or Ride Ataxia:
FARA (Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance): http://www.curefa.org/
FARA Energy Ball: http://www.curefa.org/energyball/
Ride Ataxia: http://rideataxia.org/
Ride Ataxia in Orlando: http://rideataxia.org/orlando/
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