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.

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Friedreich's Ataxia sufferer Emery Fitzhugh. (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

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.

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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.

Kyle’s passion has inspired other fundraising rides across the country, including the 50, 25, and 6-mile rides happening Saturday morning on the University of North Texas campus in Denton.

The Ride Ataxia events begin at 8 a.m. at UNT’s Apogee Stadium. While online registration has closed anyone wanting to participate in the event can still sign up. Onsite registration begins at 6:30 a.m.

Click here for more information.

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