Wauwatosa handcyclist raises awareness and funds for MS

By Joel Waldinger | September 8, 2022


Handcycling is a passion for John Haupt. As a teenager, more than 50 years ago John was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. “In those days, we’re talking in the 1970s, they used to tell us that, you shouldn’t participate, you shouldn’t be too physically active.” Today the science has changed and encourages those with MS to stay active. Downhill skiing, wakeboarding are a few ways John gets exercise – but handcycling is his passion and it’s earned him the title of Milwaukee’s unofficial MS poster boy. John said, “I’m happy to wear that, that title. I do it because the alternative is doing nothing. I guess my being the poster, boy, I’m saying to them, yeah, you can do this, you can try it, and I know they can.”

John earned that tile because of what he does for MS fundraising. Each year for nearly a decade John produces and stars in fundraising videos. “MS doesn’t take vacations so I’m pushing on in the 2021 MS Best Damn Bike Tour and I need your help. I’ve always said I’m one of the lucky ones. But there are others more in need of your help.” So far, John has raised more than 150-thousand dollars.

He was also instrumental in bringing handcycle racing to Wisconsin’s Tour of America’s Dairyland Road Race. John’s dedication is pretty remarkable and handcycling for him is liberating and empowering. “I’m not the fastest guy in the race, or even in Wisconsin. But it was the most fun thing I had all week.”

Joel Waldinger

Joel Waldinger

Joel Waldinger is a reporter for the “Wisconsin Life” project and considers a sunset over the “big island” on Manson Lake to be a perfect ending to a day of fishing and fun in the Northwoods. 

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