JUNO BEACH, Fla. - Lanny Carrero has found freedom from living with Multiple Sclerosis. When he hits the road on his bicycle, he is linked in with the social world, and he gets the exercise he desperately needs to fight the disease.
"I feel as equal to anybody else that's out there on their bikes," he said.
In 2010, WPTV featured Carrero as a veteran overcoming challenges to participate in marathons. Then, he joyously talked about his hand-crank bike, "Physically and mentally, it's changed my life around, it's been a God-sent to me,"
Many of the miles since then, he's raised money for charity. He says he lives and breathes for fundraisers to help others, rolling for dozens of miles at a clip and passing out fliers in his spare time.
In late October 2013, Carrero was riding with his wife, Elizabeth. She was running to prepare for a marathon. He was riding ahead, carrying her water, then waiting for her at various stops at Celestial Way near Ocean Drive in Juno Beach.
Police said a driver failed to yield and hit Carrero, pinning him under the bumper and dragging him for several feet as he screamed for the driver to stop.
"And to this day, I still sustain headaches," Carrero said.
In the five weeks since the accident, his sore wounds have been slowly starting to head. His bike, however, was beyond repair. In the weeks since the accident, Carrero says he can feel his body weakening and stiffening without the exercise.
His wife, Elizabeth, said the bicycle had put him on even ground with others in the community. She says her husband lost an important part of his rehabilitation.
"It's a rehabilitation that doesn't have an ending, because MS, with what he has, is a progressive disease," she said.
The couple lost four family members in the 1990s to carbon monoxide poisoning. They are trying to keep this trying time in perspective.
"The loss of children is difficult, and having my wife have to deal with this MS for 24 of the years that we've been married, that's difficult," Lanny Carrero said.
He says he believes good must be on the horizon because things have always improved.
"But you have to know that better things come out of situations," he said.
The Carreros' friends have been raising money to help him purchase a new bike. The first bicycle had been purchased by Veterans Affairs, but Lanny said so far the VA is not helping him to get a new one.
If for some reason the money comes through from the VA, Lanny said all money raised will be given to charity.
On Dec. 12 at 6 p.m., friends are throwing a fundraising event at 2724 East Commercial Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale with a suggested donation of $10.
The friends have also set up a fundraising page at Lets Get Lanny Back on the Road http://fundrazr.com/campaigns/7dkg8http://fundrazr.com/campaigns/7dkg8
A bike race to raise money for the fight against Multiple Sclerosis is scheduled for March 1-2, 2014. Details are at www.msbikeflorida.org.