Sacramento — Sacramento native Kyle Bryant and a team of 35 riders will leave from the California state capitol Saturday at 9 a.m. to begin a cross-country journey to draw attention and raise research funds to find a cure for the rare neuromuscular disorder Friedreich's ataxia.
"There is a new optimism in our community of Ataxians that we can beat FA," said Bryant. "I am one of the lucky few who still has considerable ability. I plan to take advantage of my ability as long as I can."
The riders will begin assembling at 8 a.m. at the Southwest corner of Capitol Park (corner of 10th and N) Saturday, and will kick off the ride with a celebration that will include the dramatic beginning of the adventure. The first day approximately 35 riders and 100 supporters are expected to participate, and a core group of 15 riders will continue the cross-country journey during the next twelve days.
Bryant and the Ride Ataxia team will conclude in Las Vegas, NV on March 27, 2008 at the National Ataxia Foundation's 51st Annual Meeting. It will be a 13-day trip covering 600+ miles.
In March 2007, Bryant completed a 2,400 mile bike ride from La Jolla, California to the 50th annual NAF meeting in Memphis. Bryant and his team raised $40,000 during Ride Ataxia I, visiting FA researchers and patient families along his route. NAF and FARA announced at the end of Ride Ataxia I that the two organizations would add sufficient funds to bring the total of the Kyle Bryant Research Award to $100,000.
The 2007 Kyle Bryant Award was provided to translational research being done by Australian researchers and their British collaborators into the catalytic antioxidant CTMIO as a possible treatment for Friedreich's Ataxia. Furthermore, this initial Kyle Bryant Award drew such high-quality applications from the scientific community that NAF and FARA have agreed to co-fund three of the other proposals as well.
NAF Executive Director Michael Parent commented, "The National Ataxia Foundation is truly grateful to Kyle Bryant for his courageous 2007 journey to help raise ataxia awareness and needed funds to support promising Friedreich's ataxia research. We're excited that Kyle has decided to continue his initiative in 2008."
FARA President Ron Bartek added, "Kyle's courage, commitment and dedication has inspired and enabled FARA and NAF to collaborate on some very promising research."
Team Ride Ataxia has set a goal of raising $50,000 towards research for Friedreich's ataxia in 2008. Details of the trip can be found on Bryant's web site http://www.rideataxia.blogspot.com.
Friedreich's ataxia is a life-shortening, debilitating and rare genetic neurodegenerative disorder. Onset of symptoms usually occurs between the ages of 5 and 15. Symptoms include muscle weakness and loss of coordination in the arms and legs; impairment of vision, hearing and speech; aggressive scoliosis (curvature of the spine); diabetes, and a serious heart condition. Most patients need a wheelchair full-time by their late teens and die as young adults. There is currently no treatment or cure.
The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to accelerating research leading to treatments and a cure for Friedreich's ataxia. http://www.curefa.org
NAF is a membership supported, nonprofit organization established in 1957 to help persons with ataxia and their families. The Foundation's primary purpose is to support promising ataxia research and to provide vital programs and services for ataxia families. http://www.ataxia.org
President, Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance
Executive Director, National Ataxia Foundation
Founder, Ride Ataxia