"My family takes a vacation every summer where we rent a house on a lake for a week to water ski and tube. Water skiing was one of my favorite activities along with cycling before my accident. That day in the early afternoon we had taken a break from being out in the boat and I was playing on the beach with a few of my younger cousins, who were 4,6 and 9 at the time, and I decided to make a fun little 'obstacle course'. I had it end with a jump into the lake and swimming underneath a tube floating a few feet off the shore. When I dove in I had the angle of my dive a little off and tucked my head a bit too low, so it caught the sandy bottom of the lake and it pulled my chin down to my chest and also must have compressed my head downward as well. This caused a burst fracture of my C6 vertebrate. I was then left floating face down in the water trying to move to shore with the little arm movement I had at the time. Fortunately my family was watching from the shore and after I didn't move for a while my uncle came and grabbed me and brought me to shore. We called 911 and the ambulance came and brought me to South Bend Memorial Hospital where they performed a corpectomy of my C6 and fused C5-7. I spent roughly 3 days in the ICU and then another 10 days in the hospital waiting to sort out my rehab destination and going to Marionjoy for 2.5 weeks and then Shirley Ryan. I had a wonderful occupational therapist at the South Bend who worked with me right after my accident and got the ball rolling on my rehabilitation.
An adaptive bike would help me to stay healthy and be more physically active. Finding activities that raise my heart rate is difficult with the limited amounted of functioning muscles. Being outdoors and seeing all of the different scenery while out on a ride is also one of my favorite things about cycling. I also enjoy cycling with friends and family who are looking forward to getting out together again soon. I stay physically active by going to the gym a few times a week but I enjoy being able to exercise outdoors much more. Prior to my accident I rode about 5 times a week from April to October just to get out in the fresh air and with how much I loved it.
As mentioned, an adaptive bike would open a lot of doors for new and more enjoyable ways to exercise as well as be outdoors. The endorphins from exercising and breathing in fresh air always provide such a mood boost and great way to switch up my routine. There are so many great trails in the suburbs that I am eager to explore, and my favorite place to cycle was the arboretum since I lived nearby in Lisle prior to my accident. An adaptive cycle would really change so many things and has been what I am looking forward to most since trying it in rehab and brought my love of cycling up with my therapists right away."