NEWINGTON, Conn. – Kurt Lindboom-Broberg knows a thing or two about change. A year ago he was working on a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences. But six months ago he left that all behind to instead devote himself to health and fitness – his passion. And now? Lindboom-Broberg is teaming his passion for athletics with his desire to help find a cure for a disease robbing people of movement.
A resident of Newington, Lindboom-Broberg recently joined the staff of Cardio Express Fitness Centers. Peter Rusconi,Glastonbury, who owns and operates six Cardio Express Fitness Centers, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004.
“I was actually quite surprised when I learned that Peter has multiple sclerosis,” said Lindboom-Broberg, a triathlete who is training his way to a full Ironman triathlon. “You just would never know it to look at him. He’s fit and active. When I found out, I knew I had to get involved in the cause.”
Kurt Lindboom-Broberg, who works at Cardio Express Fitness Centers in Southington, poses with Cardio Express district manager Neil Tejwani, a former contestant on season four of the television hit show The Biggest Loser. Lindboom-Broberg, who had planned to ride 75 miles in Bike MS: Cardio Express Ride, originally scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 28, changed plans when he found the event was rescheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11. Enrolled to participate in triathlon in Las Vegas on the ride’s rain date, Lindboom-Broberg rode more than 110 miles Tuesday, Aug. 30, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to Cardio Express owner and operator, Peter Rusconi, who battles multiple sclerosis. Lindboom-Broberg cycled to all six Cardio Express Fitness Centers, beginning from his home and traveling first to Manchester and then Vernon, Tolland,Mansfield, Wethersfield and Southington.
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Rusconi, battle multiple sclerosis. Symptoms associated with MS can include, among other things, numbness and tingling in the extremities, difficulty with vision or speech, stiffness, loss of mobility, and, in some severe circumstances, total paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted. There is no cure for multiple sclerosis.
Lindboom-Broberg, who works at the Southingtonfitness center, joined Rusconi’s Bike MS team, signing on to raise funds and ride 75 miles at the 2011 event, which was first slated to take place August 28 at Priam Vineyards in Colchester. But even the best laid plans can sometimes go awry. The unexpected visit from Hurricane Irene pre-empted the 2011 Bike MS: Cardio Express Ride and made it necessary to reschedule the event for September 11.
“Unfortunately, I have an Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Las Vegas on September 11 and I knew that I wouldn’t make the rain date,” said Lindboom-Broberg. “Not to be undone, I came up with a plan B.”
Early On Tuesday, Aug. 30, Lindboom-Broberg saddled up and set out to cycle more than 110 miles, stopping at every Cardio Express location in central Connecticut taking him as far east as Tolland and as far west as Southington. The grueling ride took him 11 hours and 22 minutes, including seven hours of cycling.
“You know, many people with MS are just grateful to be able to take a leisurely walk in the evening,” said the 25-year-old. “It makes me feel good to know I can go all out for a cause that threatens to rob people of movement. I’m glad I can help make a difference.”
Lindboom-Broberg said that he had been hesitant in the past about getting involved in causes, not knowing how he could make a real difference in the lives of others – how he could affect lasting change.
“I recommend everyone find a way to help make a difference in the life of someone,” he said. “I’ve found that by using my abilities – my skills and strengths, I can help keep the fight against multiple sclerosis moving forward toward a cure. Everyone has a talent and a skill. We all can apply those talents and skills to affect change for others.”
A year ago, donned in a lab coat and squinting behind the lens of a microscope, Lindboom-Broberg couldn’t have imagined he would one day be competing in triathlons and then using his new found conditioning to support someone battling the unpredictable effects of a chronic illness. Change has paid off for Lindboom-Broberg – in dividends to last a lifetime.
“It means so much to know Cardio Express staff support my battle against MS,” said Peter Rusconi, whose fitness centers are located in Tolland, Vernon, Manchester, Southington, Wethersfield and Mansfield. “I was amazed when Kurt went the extra mile giving his own time to demonstrate his commitment to me and the cause. It means a lot.”
The 2011 Bike MS: Cardio Express Ride takes place Sunday, Sept. 11, at Priam Vineyards in Colchester. Registration for this year’s ride is $45 and the minimum fundraising amount per registered rider is $150. Cyclists will be able to register up to three people who have never participated before for free as part of the chapter’s Ticket To Ride program. Participants must be at least 12-years old to ride.
Community partners include WTNH News 8, KISS 95.7, and WCTY 97.7 For more information on the Bike MS: Cardio Express Ride, please contact Patrick Byrne at 860-913-2550, ext. 52527, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for the ride or to donate to Kurt Lindboom-Broberg and the Cardio Express team, please visit www.ctfightsMS.org.