Mike and his bicycle
stay busy for charity
Mike Brown used to peddle his bicycle around the hilly streets near his home on Rayburn Avenue while growing up in Guntersville in the late 1960s and 70s.
Little did he know that his bike-riding was just a small preview of his future.
Mike has roamed the country working as a nuclear power consultant and now lives in North Carolina. He logs 4,000-6,000 miles a year training and cycling in charity rides.
The Guntersville native has worked this summer preparing for the Pennsylvania Hope Ride, followed by the Pan Ohio Hope Ride in July. They are American Cancer Society fundraisers. They benefit Hope Lodge, which provides lodging and support for cancer patients and their caregivers while the patient receives treatment away from home.
“It began because my family is blessed with survivors,’’ Mike said.
Relatives of his then-wife and fiance as well as his sister, Marilyn Cornelius, are cancer survivors. Over the years he felt the need to “give back’’ to those who give so much in cancer care, and in 2009 he found his answer by chance while living in Ohio.
A neighbor no longer wanted his bicycle, which cost hundreds of dollars, so Mr. Brown took it. It needed tires, and when he was at the bicycle shop, he noticed a poster in a corner near the bottom of the front door advertising the third annual Pan-Ohio Hope Ride.
He was thunderstruck.
“I went home and told my wife, ‘I think this is my way to give back,’ ’’ he said.
He trained for months. The 328-mile, 4-day Pan-Ohio Hope Ride “nearly killed me,’’ he said, but he also hasn’t slowed down since.
“The feeling I had as I crossed the finish line was fairly overwhelming,’’ he said.
He’s also done charity rides for the Leukemia Society, Lymphoma Society, Multiple Sclerosis Association and for Cystic Fibrosis. This year, he’s formed Team KOR-RAGEOUS in memory of Korryn Whited. She was a niece of his fiance Nancy and died from leukemia when she was just 20.
For more information on the 2 events he is riding in, or to make a donation, visit main.acsevents .org/goto/michael_brown and main.acsevents.org/goto/mike_ brown. He can also be reached on Facebook.
Mike graduated from Guntersville High School in 1976. He played baseball while attending Snead College, then studied at a Methodist college in North Carolina.
He came back home and worked for TVA from 1980-83 before becoming a consultant. He left, but returned to Guntersville from 1996 to 1999 before hitting the road again. He’s lived in Southern California, Philadelphia, Chicago, South Texas, Ohio and Washington state.
He now lives in Southport, N.C., where he works at the Brunswick Nuclear Plant.
His mother Betty Brown was a dispatcher for years for the Guntersville Police Department. His father Irving Brown was a fireman. Both are deceased. His brother Buck Brown is the former fire chief and still lives here. His twin sisters Carolyn Mills and Marilyn Cornelius, who had brain cancer, are in Decatur. One sister, Vickie Denney, lives in Albertville and another, Sherry Williamson, is in Mississippi.
“I still come home a couple of times a year,’’ said Mike, who receives a thank-you card every couple of months from care givers he’s met on the rides. “There’s nothing like coming home and seeing that lake. I’ve travelled the country, but it’s still home.’’