Grass Valley Native Stars In Powerful Documentary

By kncitom on May 1, 2018

By Tom Mailey

The first thing you realize within minutes of watching the award-winning documentary “The Ataxian” is that Kyle Bryant and buddy Sean Baumstark are funny. Really funny, especially when they’re busting each other’s chops and otherwise cracking jokes at their own expense. And that’s somewhat surprising because they both live with a disability that is no laughing matter.

Sean, Tom, Kyle and Pat

According to Wikipedia, Friedreich’s Ataxia is “an autosomal recessive inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system. It manifests in initial symptoms of poor coordination such as gait disturbance; it can also lead to scoliosis, heart disease and diabetes, but does not affect cognitive function.” Eventually, the one in 50,00 affected by it will need a wheelchair and assistance with basic daily life. Both Kyle and Sean have it. Sean, a Human Resources manager for Nugget Markets, can still get around on his own two feet. Kyle, a Grass Valley native and graduate of Bear River High School, is mostly confined now to a wheelchair.

And while Sean and Kyle both admit having FA is no walk in the park, they haven’t let it stop them living their lives to the fullest…or riding across the United States in a bicycle relay in nine days. As the slogan of the movie says, “Life is about how we react.”

I had the chance to speak with both of them recently, about the movie (which is available now online), about a charity ride that’s coming up in Winters, and about maintaining their senses of humor…which explains the name of their podcast: “Two Disabled Dudes”, which has 41 episodes and focuses on guests who’ve overcome similar obstacles to theirs. We also talk about that. If you have a few minutes, check out our conversation.

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