The happiness is clear on Becky Pantano’s face as she rides her new bike, specially designed for those affected by Multiple Sclerosis.
The teacher’s assistant at Scullen Middle School uses a cane to walk as the disease impacts her legs.
“I really have a hard time doing a lot of things, which is frustrating because I have three young kids and I want to go with them and I see the other moms going and I have to make silly excuses why I can’t go so I don’t stand out,” said Pantano.
She’s most excited that she can now go on family outings like Six Flags Great America, participate in the MS Walk, and be more mobile while working at school.
A Gift from a Student to a Teacher
And all this became possible thanks to one of her students, Peter Morton.
“We decided to help her – that we could see if everybody could donate to get her this bike. And at first we thought that it might be hard but everybody chipped in this wonderful community and got her this bike,” said Morton.
Peter’s mother, Kim Morton, started a fundraiser to help reach the $2,800 goal to buy the bike.
Fundraiser for the Bike
Local business owners Nancy Quigley, of Quigley’s Pub, and Mike and Vicki Nelson, owners of Little Pops, are among those who pitched in.
“All the kids affectionately refer to her as Mrs. P, with her white sunglasses and her Jolly Ranchers. And she just made school a really fun place to be. So I was not surprised that we were able to raise the money so quickly,” said Kim.
Mayor Steve Chirico was also invited to attend the teacher’s first ride.
Shark the Bike
Pantano even named her new three-wheel ride, in part as a tribute to Peter.
“Shark is the Scullen mascot, which is the Peter part,” said Pantano. And sharks are strong and fierce, just like I want to fight my disease. And I think just coming together, it was a great name for the shark and we’re shark-tastic!”
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.