July 17, 2002
By Diana Louise Carter
Democrat and Chronicle
Riding a bicycle down one side of the United States and then across it isn't on most people's lists of accomplishments.
Improbably, it's on Delbert Richardson's.
Last year Richardson, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, rode south from Seattle along the Pacific coast and then across the country in an effort to raise awareness of the progressive disease that affects his sense of balance, makes his muscles spasm and tires him out.
Richardson, who lives in Wichita, Kan., will share his story at a talk at the Al Sigl Center Thursday. Rochester's Dr. Andrew Goodman, a nationally recognized MS specialist, will provide an overview of MS research.
"In addition to my personal goal of completing the distance, I want to bring awareness to a disease that I and many other African Americans must deal with each day," Richardson told the National Multiple Sclerosis Society last year.
"Most Americans do not realize that people of color are affected by MS."
Wendy Sullivan, director of community relations with the Upstate New York chapter of the national MS society, said African Americans may be underrepresented among the 6,400 families served by her agency.
Among African Americans "the population of people with MS is smaller, so they might feel more isolated," Sullivan said.
Richardson spent eight months on the road, starting in Seattle and ending in Washington, D.C. He traveled on a recumbent tricycle outfitted with a plastic shell to shield him from the elements.
Sullivan said the local society invited Richardson to talk partly in an attempt to reach out to more African Americans. Berlex, the pharmaceutical company that sells a leading drug in the treatment of MS, is sponsoring the talk, as it did Richardson's trip.
The talk, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., will take place in the Sigl Center's gymnasium, 1000 Elmwood Ave.
For more information call (585) 271-0801.
Copyright 2002 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle