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Cyclists serve MS patient while in town - KOAM TV 7

Cyclists serve MS patient while in town

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

As if biking across the US was not physically-tasking enough, the "Bike the US for MS" group picks up service projects wherever they can. They aim to serve the needs of those suffering from the disease they're riding for.

While in Pittsburg, the 20 cyclists plus crew members split into two groups to do projects at different locations within Pittsburg. Mike Swan, a cyclist from Minneapolis, helped out former PSU professor, current multiple sclerosis patient Tanya Brown's Walnut street home.

"I'm lucky enough to be able to do something crazy like this, like ride across the country. We've met a lot of people with MS who wish they could but they can't. Especially when it's something as simple like, I haven't had my window sills painted for 8 years. That's something we can do, that's something we can take care of and that's not a problem for us," Swan said.

Brown's Walnut street home was built in the 1800's. She is essentially confined to the sunroom on the first floor, with the exception of the rare getaway. Her exterior window sills needed a paint job, so that is what the cyclists provided.

"A day in my life now looks exactly like what I'm doing now. Which is sitting in bed all day. I've got nurses that come in and tend to my wounds and that type of thing. I've had this disease for most of my life," Brown said.

Brown was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001, forcing her to quit teaching history to freshman at Pittsburg State University. The decision to quit teaching when she could no longer move within her electric wheelchair was difficult.

"That was a very difficult decision for me to make because I worked very hard to get into that position in the first place," Brown said.

Brown spends her time with a caregiver and a nurse or two who re-position her to her comfort and give her medicine when she's taking it. Currently, she is not on medication for her MS, but is hopeful that with fundraising done by groups like the bike group, more developed care can come along for people in her condition.

"MS is an auto-immune disorder. It's my body attacking itself and there's not a lot I can do to stop the progression of it," Brown said.

Brown looks forward to eventually making a trip out of her home in her electric wheelchair, and checking out the berry paint job on her window sills.

"Maybe some day I'll be able to get up and walk around again. That would be awesome," Brown said.

The group also completed yard work for a Pittsburg man living with MS at his Olive Street home. "Bike the US for MS" continues through August 1 when the group reaches San Francisco.

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