NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Young Denton resident Emery Fitzhugh is a delightful, personality-packed 12-year-old, but it’s getting a little more difficult for her to show it.

Emery was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) when she was just eight.

The genetic, progressive, life-shortening, neuromuscular disease slowly robs a person’s balance, mobility, hearing and vision and eventually attacks the heart.

Thirty-year-old Kyle Bryant has battled FA since he was 17.

To help the sports enthusiast cope with his deteriorating physical changes, he turned to cycling.

The passion eventually led him on a ride across the country, some 800 miles longer than the Tour de France, and began a cross-country crusade to spread awareness of and raise funds for FA.

After living more than a decade with FA Kyle now spends most of his time in a wheelchair. He says he does it to conserve energy for cycling, which keeps his heart healthy and his body strong.

Read More: North Texas Bike-A-Thon For Neuromuscular Disease