Karen DeJoe battled multiple sclerosis, then conquered a cross-country Bicycle Adventure
Karen DeJoe was working as a physician in a New Hampshire hospital when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Before long, the disease took away much of her mobility and put her in a wheelchair. It even stifled her ability to communicate. While she had to give up her medical practice, she pressed on as a medical director at the hospital.
She eventually worked her way out of the wheelchair and took up cycling, yet the symptoms of MS remained oppressive. When she traded the Northeast for The Sunshine State of Florida, though, she took a turn for the better — for which she gives much of the credit to a healthy dose of Vitamin D provided by the sun.
As her mobility improved, she looked for bigger challenges. Eventually, she found the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure — and a daunting 3,750-mile, cross-country quest. Earlier this month, she conquered the challenge, despite never having ridden more than 50 miles in a single day prior to the Adventure on which riders average more than 70 miles per day.
DeJoe shared her story with the The Post-Journal, a newspaper in Jamestown, N.Y., not far from her hometown of Fredonia, N.Y. In this extensive story about her journey, Karen, 58, talks about the challenges she faced along the way, how she “cried like a baby” because the ride was everything should could have hoped for and more, and shares one of the most touching moments behind the scenes during a build day in West Point, Georgia.
It was there that the group repaired the home of a man with terminal cancer whose dying wish is to leave his wife a decent place to live. DeJoe explained that she was a doctor and that she would be happy to answer any questions or simply listen to any concerns he might have.
“He grabbed my hand and said no physician has ever prayed with him before,” DeJoe told the newspaper. “That was one of the most touching moments of the trip. That’s what the trip was about.”
You can read more about Karen’s journey in the complete article below:
Why I Ride, with Karen DeJoe: