The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 18, 2012

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Pittsburg resident raises money for MS

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
Globe Staff Writer

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Gina Peak is one of those Energizer Bunny types who just don’t stop. If she wanted to, she’d have a darned good excuse; she was diagnosed in April 2004 with multiple sclerosis.

But as long as I’ve known her, she’s not the type to throw in the towel or wait for others to make life better. She’s a doer.

And, if pressed about her experience with the often debilitating disease, she’ll tell you that a positive attitude is the key to surviving and thriving.

To that end, within a year of her diagnosis, she participated in her first organized walk to raise money and awareness for MS. In the years since, Peak and her team have raised about $70,000.

One of her biggest concerns has been people living with MS in rural, underserved areas. A charity she supports, Heartland Borderwalk Foundation, is helping that cause. It has funded a wheelchair ramp in Girard, for example, and a scooter in Columbus.

Her latest effort to raise funds should prove to be a tasty one: She’s collecting recipes to print a cookbook. It will be called “Cooking Up a Cure.”

After an initial request of friends, family members and on Facebook, Peak has received more than 250 recipes from 50 people, many of whom have a direct connection to the disease. Still more are coming in each day.

Her plan is to publish the book around the first of the year, and she’s taking pre-orders now. The cookbooks will be $10 each, and all proceeds will go to the Heartland Borderwalk Foundation and the National MS Society.

As an additional fundraiser for the holiday season, Peak and her team will sell French cookies for a suggested donation of $5 per dozen. They will be made the old-fashioned way, with a cast-iron grill on a cook stove. Deliveries will be made for orders of more than four dozen.

Interested in a cookbook or cookies? Contact Peak at 620-762-3733 or at

Bamboo Pittsburg

And speaking of cooking, Bamboo Pittsburg opened last week in downtown Pittsburg and has been overwhelmed with positive response from customers hungry to taste the Chinese food they remember from several years ago.

So overwhelmed, in fact, that owner Joe Kim has been asking customers for patience: Plan ahead and expect an hour wait for pickup orders to be ready, and an hour and a half for delivery orders. A limited number of dine-in tables are available. Daily specials and family packs have been added to the old menu.

“We are also very excited to be back to Pittsburg, where we first started out,” Kim said.

Customers who tried out the offerings last week told me it was well worth the wait. It’s next on my list for a no-cook evening. Maybe I’ll see you there.

FOLLOW ANDRA STEFANONI on Facebook at and on Twitter @AndraStefanoni.