Family from North Carolina visits the Valley on 2-month bicycle trip
YOUNGSTOWN -- A North Carolina family, biking across the Midwest to raise awareness about brain injuries, stopped Tuesday in Youngstown.
Ben and Lee Anne Barry and their son, Christian, are part of a program called the B.I.G. Ride. It stands for Brain Injury's Greatest.
Lee Anne Barry, 41, said she suffered a brain injury in 1971 when she was struck by a car near her childhood home in Michigan. She was 5 at the time and suffered partial paralysis and tremors, among other injuries.
When she was 15, a New York City surgeon operated on her and restored many of the physical functions she had lost to her injuries. She became interested in bicycling and has used that as a means of helping others in her situation.
Lee Anne and Ben Barry, 56, raise money by people making contributions, either to them personally as they ride through a town, or through their Web site, www.thebigride.org.
Lee Anne Barry said any money they make is given to various brain injury treatment facilities around the country. They started their trip Aug. 23 in New York City and will wrap it up Oct. 12 in Orlando, Fla. Their journey will cover 4,300 miles.
"People have a hard time giving [money] for brain injuries because it's not like we're riding for the cure," Lee Anne Barry said. "We're riding for awareness because prevention is the best cure."
The Barrys were joined Tuesday by 35-year-old Brian Murphy of New Waterford, who also suffered debilitating brain injuries in 1981. Murphy, who rides a three-wheeled bicycle, rode from East Palestine to Youngstown with the Barrys.