Kenny: A Life of Pain and Celebration

Kenny Wingfield’s new book.

Kenny Wingfield’s long-promised memoir is here and it’s just what you’d expect from a guy who infuses every project in his life with enthusiasm and grit.

You’ve probably seen Kenny riding one of his several bicycles—including the one that’s hand-pedaled—along the Roanoke River Greenway through the Valley. He’s as much a fixture as the Wasena Park low-water bridge.

Kenny has lived with multiple sclerosis, polio, knee surgery, by-pass surgery, hip replacement (both of them), spinal infusion and god only knows what else, but he is–at this point–undefeated. Every time an issue bites him, Kenny bites back.

He is perhaps the most irrepressible and stubborn man I’ve ever met. And he’s one of the most cheerful and grateful for his life–difficult though it has been. His new book, All I Ever Wanted To Be …, is an inspirational—if amateur—work, and I think it deserves some attention.

The book is self-published and like so many in this genre, it lacks the polish most often—but not always—seen in commercial works. The strength of the narrative lies in its detail and its openness. The writing, however, is clear and what it lacks in polish, it provides in sheer pig-headedness in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Kenny is a guy who has looked Multiple Sclerosis in the eye and spit, riding his bike across the entire United States to raise money for its cure—while suffering it. He has adjusted his goals as his physical health withered, but has rarely complained and always looked at what he can do, not what he can’t.

His is an inspirational story, one told in conversational, bite-sized chapters, giving the book that “bathroom read” feel and function.

Kenny will sign books Saturday, Aug. 11, at Cardinal Bicycle in Roanoke, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.




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