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Frontline hero from Lockport appears on 'LIVE with Kelly and Ryan' after 3,500-mile bike ride

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Posted at 1:15 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 13:15:33-04

NEW YORK, N.Y. (WKBW) — Last month, 7 Eyewitness News shared the story of Theresa Mellas, a Western New York native who biked 3,500 miles from Portland, Oregon to Staten Island, New York after working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday morning, Mellas was interviewed on 'LIVE with Kelly and Ryan' about her experience.

Mellas, from Lockport, is a traveling physician assistant. She was one of the many healthcare workers who took up Governor Cuomo's call for help back in March. She worked 25 straight days in a New York City ICU, and renewed her contract.

Following her time in New York City, she flew out to Portland, bought a bike on Craigslist, and started the journey back to the east coast. Her trip took 40 days.

Mellas spoke to Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest via Skype from Lockport in her appearance on 'LIVE.'

"It was grim, I'll be honest," Mellas told Ripa about her time in the ICU, "but when you work in healthcare, you're setting yourself up for this and you're prepared for it mentally."

Seacrest asked Mellas about the details of her bike ride, including where she rested along the way. "For the most part, I camped," Mellas said. "I had a hammock with me and I would string it up between some trees." Mellas added, "I also was overwhelmed by the amount of people that said 'sleep in our backyard,' or I was offered a bed and a place to stay and a shower and a warm meal. Complete strangers were amazing to this bedraggled cyclist."

Mellas said she's enjoying being home with family, and doesn't have her next step planned yet.