John Bowders recently suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury following a devastating bicycle accident. Now paralyzed from the waist down, John has no use of his legs and will require a wheelchair and other adaptive equipment for the rest of his life.
Although John has lost the use of his legs, he has not lost his humor, his optimistic outlook on life, or his infectious smile! Everyone who knows John knows that being outdoors and active are critical components to his happiness. Most especially, John loves bicycling. During his stay at the rehabilitation hospital, John has had the opportunity to try handcycling and learn about other adaptive sports and outdoor equipment. One of John’s goals, in addition to handcycling for recreation and fitness, is commuting to work by handcycle.
Although John has health insurance, not all of his medical expenses are covered and must be paid out of pocket. Most notable for John’s independence and quality of life are adapting his car for driving, adaptive sports equipment, and a second wheel chair (necessary if he is to commute to work by handcycle). In addition, it is highly likely that he will require additional surgery on his collarbone which will result in return to the rehabilitation hospital. Insurance will not pay for his transportation back to the hospital where he has received care to date, nor transportation or living expenses for Patti during this second rehabilitation.
Many of you continue to ask how you can help John in his recovery and transition to a new lifestyle. We have a found a way, through HelpHOPELive. A fundraising campaign in John’s honor has been established with HelpHOPELive, a trusted nonprofit organization that has been providing community-based fundraising guidance to patients and their families for more than 30 years. All donations are tax-deductible, are held by HelpHOPELive in the Midwest/West Spinal Cord Injury Fund, and are administered by HelpHOPELive for injury-related expenses only. Please consider a tax-deductible contribution.
If you are interested in planning a fundraiser or helping with one, please contact me directly. HelpHOPELive encourages friends and colleagues to plan their own fundraising EVENTS in honor of John and will work with you to help organize and put on an event. Think SPRING-a cycling event in honor of John perhaps or any type of fundraiser you would like to do.
On behalf of John and Patti, thank you so much for your generosity, support and prayers.
Teri Covington, Ride Again campaign fund organizer and one of John’s many friends.
May 20, 2020
It has been quite awhile since I provided an update. John is doing great! I’ll give a brief rundown of the past 2.5 years. At the HandBikeBattle in 2017 many of the Occupational Therapists there noted that John’s wheelchair was not a good fit and could cause injuries (some of which he was already experiencing) So, John got measured for a custom wheelchair while in Austria and on Jan 2, 2018 we flew to the Netherlands to get it fitted and bring it back. It has made a tremendous difference for him and we are so grateful. I would also like to note that we were able to use funds from all the folks who have donated to this site to pay for the new wheelchair. So, a big thank you!
John returned to the HandBikeBattle in 2018. The weather was cooler than 2017 with a bit of rain, but race day (June 14) was perfect conditions — 45F and cloudy to start and approximately 60F, breezy and sunny at the finish. John had an awesome ride and knocked 30 minutes off his time, finishing in 3 hours 44 minutes. He also returned to the Copper Triangle ride in Colorado in August 2018, with his e-assist handbike. Unfortunately, the motor was having some issues that were difficult to diagnose and it quit working around mile 50, making a finish impossible.
We have continued to spend the Christmas Holiday break in Tucson and John is doing a lot of riding during that time. Tucson has 130 miles of paved bike path — a 54 mile loop around the city with long spurs off to different areas. This path makes it possible for John to ride from our house to Saguaro National Park East without riding on busy Tucson roads. It is an ideal situation.
Last summer (2019) John skipped the HandBikeBattle and instead chose to stay in Italy for 2 weeks of riding there. A number of friends joined us for all or part of the time and John was able to do many of his favorite rides, with routes up to 55 miles. He did return to the Copper Triangle ride for attempt #3, on his new Carbide (custom Italian) bike with e-assist. Our friends Jim and Don rode the entire route with him. Not only was he able to complete the ride but they rode the 9 miles back to where we were staying after the ride! This was a huge success.
John has just finished the spring semester in this crazy pandemic time. He is staying home, except to ride his bike. We are fortunate that we are able to go outside and have had lovely weather for many of these past “stay at home” weeks. After a busy summer of travel last year, we have no plans for this summer. Best to be safe and see how things play out.
If you’ve stumbled on this page after all these years, thank you for thinking of us and thank you for supporting John. Until next time, sending greetings of gratitude and love. Patti
August 30, 2017
August 30, 2017
What a great summer. After John’s success at the HandbikeBattle he decided he wanted to try the Copper Triangle ride in Colorado (www.coppertriangle.com The ride is held the first Saturday of August. We headed out July 30 with our friend Don. Sharon joined us there and we spend about 5 days getting acclimated to the altitude. Saturday was a perfect day, sunny, cool and no rain! John, Don, and Sharon started about 6:40am. Jim caught up with them along the way and they arrived at Tennessee Pass, the second pass and Continental Divide around 10am! I’ve attached a short video of their arrival. I saw them there then went on to Minturn to wait and check in with John and see if his arms were feeling up to tackling the last but longest pass, Vail Pass. John did want to finish the ride but his arms did not so he stopped there. 52 of 78 miles completed, 2 passes and a knarly climb up Battle mountain! It was an awesome ride! Special thanks to Don, Jim, Sharon, and others they met along the way for helping John up the passes.
Although the latest rendition of the “push bar” for the Carbide is working great after a few tweaks, and was instrumental in his Copper Triangle success, he may not need that sort of help any more. John got his Force 3 hand bike outfitted with a Bionx electronic assist. I’ve attached a short video of his first ride with it. As they old saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words! Perhaps I’ll be getting an e-Assist, too!
We had an amazing eclipse experience here in Columbia, 2 1/2 minutes of totality. Indescribable! We were able to enjoy south of town along the Katy trail, and rode our bikes down.
MU is back in session and John is once again very busy with his classes, students and meetings. Fortunately, he is still making time to ride and he has a new physical therapist who is pushing his limits. All is good.
Thanks to all our friends and loved ones who make our life easier and so much better. Until next time…
August 30, 2017
July 6, 2017
July 6, 2017
He did it! John finished the HandbikeBattle (handbikebattle.nl It was an amazing experience! Perfect weather, albeit a bit hot for all the Dutch and local Austrians, too (Europe was experiencing a heat wave); and such grand hospitality on the part of the organizers.
John was the first (and so far only) American to participate and we were treated like royalty. All the staff, participants and supporters knew the American.
John did extremely well considering this was his first time and the bike provided by Maddiline Cycle (Grazie Giorgio!) did not have the friendliest gearing for the mountains. He finished in 4:16 (total, clock time). His official “corrected” time was 3:42. This accounts for his H3 classification and the actual start of the H3 riders which was several minutes after the clock started. Overall he was 47th out of 94 riders who finished and 10th of the 38 H3 classified riders.
Some of you who tried were not able to livestream the event race day. Others were quick to note that John was “trending on twitter” (to his horror!) earlier in the week (www.twitter.com/HandbikeBattle)
I’ve posted here links to 2 short videos, his start and finish.
It was truly an amazing experience. Hats off to the Dutch organizers and the generous sponsors of this event, one that provides the opportunity for 100 handcyclists, many brand new to the sport, to challenge themselves by riding up a mountain. John was honored to take part and hopes to return next year.
Thanks to you all for your support and friendship!
July 6, 2017
July 6, 2017
June 10, 2017
June 9, 2017
Hmmmm. I’m embarrassed by how long it has been since I posted an update. I think it is a function of the fact that our life has become so “normal” and busy that I don’t make time to do this. But, so much has happened and we have some exciting things coming up this summer that I want to tell you about.
First of all, John has NOT yet received a service dog. He is still on the waiting list. They say it takes 1.5-2 years on the waiting list so this is not so unusual (he was placed on the waiting list in March 2016).
We had an excellent, extended holiday (Christmas 2015 and New Years) in Tucson and welcomed many friends who came to visit and ride with John. Our niece Caitlin came for Christmas, our friend Jim came for a week around New Years, friends Adrienne and Roman and their 2 dogs spent 4 days with us as they were moving from Maryland to California, and Don came for 10 days. At one point we had 6 adults and 2 dogs in our relatively small home! It was fabulous seeing everyone and the weather was Tucson perfect! We did a lot of riding.
John and I and Don returned to Tucson in March, during John’s spring break. John completed his delayed/rescheduled birthday ride there, riding 60 miles! His longest ride since his injury. It was a picture perfect day.
Tucson riding includes relatively flat miles on the Rillato River trail, and it’s connectors as well as the very hilly 9 mile loop ride in the Saguaro National Park (East). In addition, during both the January and March trips John rode as far as he could up Mt. Lemmon, completing 7 miles each time.
All this hilly riding is training for his upcoming big adventure, the HandbikeBattle! The HandbikeBattle is a Dutch event that takes place in Austria each June. John read about it last year and decided he wanted to participate! The majority of participants are teams assembled by Dutch Rehabilitation hospitals. However, they permit a limited number of individuals to register and participate. The individual registration opens on January 1 at noon in the Netherlands! — That was 4am Tucson time. So, at 3:30a on Jan 1, John and I woke, got the computer cranked up and google translate opened on my phone ap — everything is in Dutch. Although he wasn’t able to actually get into the registration site for about 10 minutes and we had a few snafus completing the forms, he was able to submit his application and about 8 hours later he received an e-mail congratulating him on his registration.
He still needed to complete and submit all the medical medical forms and have a stress test conducted. We did manage to get all this done and he is officially registered!
The HandbikeBattle consists of a week of activities, cycling and workshops in Kaunertal, Austria, that culminates in the Battle — a 20km ride up a mountain on June 22! Through this process we have learned that John is the first American to participate! They have translated the HandbikeBattle Activity book in to English for him, and for you! Here is the website: www.handbikebattle.nl
On this website, there is a link to the activity book in English. This lists all the information about the week as well as options for live streaming the ride on June 22.
We depart for Europe next week, June 14 and return to Columbia on the 27th. In the meantime we’ll be cheering John on as he participates in this exciting event!
I’ll post a report when we return, and some photos. I promise!
November 28, 2016
Happy Thanksgiving! (belated)
November 28, 2016
The past 2 months have flown by and been action packed. The biggest news is that we MOVED! After about a week of packing and organizing at our rental house, We hired movers on October 8 to move all our furniture. It took all day but we got all the big stuff over and spent our first night in the new house. I spent the next 4 days finishing moving the rest of the stuff (kitchen, clothes) and unpacking/organizing the new house. I am indebted to all the folks that just showed up and helped — Anatolie, Ben, Kristin, Bob, and Dean — as well as to all who offered to help. I can’t imagine how I would have gotten it done without you. Special thanks also to our contractor, Tracy Calvert, who worked LONG hours, nights and weekends to ensure we could make our rental move out deadline. I’m quite sure no other contractor would have done this.
I had to get the new house set up enough for John to function independently because on Oct 13th I left for Peru for 10 days. It was quite a feat but I managed to pull it off. While I was gone our friend Don came and took care of a long list of things for me. Most importantly, he organized the garage so that it is possible to park in it and move around, too.
The house is perfect for John. He has 2 sinks he can roll under (kitchen and bath), a roll-in shower, and only one threshold in the entire house — entrance from the garage to the house. It is awesome.
We had an open house on Oct 30 so friends and neighbors could see the house and now are just enjoying living easy, all on one level!
We traveled to York PA to spend Thanksgiving with John’s family. We had a nice visit there and in addition to enjoying family and friends, enjoyed good weather and uneventful travel. All good. We are thankful for so many things.
Now, John is in the last weeks of the semester and I am looking forward to spending the Christmas break in Tucson. 🙂
Happy holidays to you all.
With love and gratitude,
September 15, 2016
September 15, 2016.
Yikes! 2 months since I’ve posted anything. Time marches on, whether we are paying attention or not!
We continued to have a GREAT summer! Spent 10 days in Colorado at the end of July — got John’s car, the Mazda 5 (or M5 as we lovingly call it) outfitted with a roof rack (thanks to Don, Sarah, and Mark!), loaded up his handcycle and my bike and hit the road! One week in Denver where we participated in 3 rides organized or sanctioned by Adaptive Adventures Cycling program. What a great organization! We had fun riding with a bunch of folks and getting to know the Cycling Director. Hope to participate in more rides with them.
When we weren’t riding with Adaptive Adventures, we took to the Denver’s extensive network of paved bike trails — you can get anywhere! We had perfect weather and did lots of riding.
After a week of riding in Denver, we headed to the mountains and spent 3 days riding in Frisco. It was spectacular. John rode 9 consecutive days for a total of 200 miles. Whew!
We were back in Columbia for less than 10 days when we headed to Chicago for a conference — John got to reconnect with all his Geotech colleagues, many of whom he had not seen since his accident. It was a good weekend and nice to be there to honor his two mentors, Bob Koerner and David Daniel.
Then, a week later, MU classes started and John is once again in the thick of things. He is teaching 2 classes this semester and is Chair of the MU Disabilities Committee (I suspect that is not the official name). In addition, he is committed to keeping up his cycling — back to his pre-injury early morning rides all summer and continuing now through the fall as long as possible.
The other big news in our life now is that the home we bought last September is almost ready for us to move in. What we initially thought would be modifying a bathroom and making a few doorways wider turned into a total gut and redo! Funny how those things happen… But, when it is finished it will be lovely and a perfectly accessible home for John. He will have access to every room in the house and I won’t have to worry about what I forgot to do or get for him before I go out of town. We are both pretty excited about this and looking forward to getting settled
The anniversary of John’s accident is September 28 — it will be 2 years since this life changing event. He has made so much progress, literally re-learning how to do everything. It is quite incredible, witnessing what we are capable of. He continues to amaze (and amuse) me. We are so fortunate to have the love and support of so many people who have eased the rough parts of this journey. Thanks to you all!
July 19, 2016
July 19, 2016
July 19, still.
Okay, it was my first time using the HHL url link and I see it kicks me out of the update when I post the URL link… So, I’ll finish my update then post then next 2 video links.
We are headed to Colorado on Thursday (21 July) for another cycling adventure. Denver has a very active Adaptive Adventures handcycling group with up to 3 organized handcycle rides per week. We will stay in Denver for a week and join them for the Saturday morning ride, a Tuesday evening ride in Golden and a Thursday evening ride somewhere in Denver. Denver has a large network of cycling paths throughout and out of town which we plan to explore on other days. We also have friends we will have the opportunity to visit in Boulder and Parker. After the week in Denver we will head to the mountains (Frisco) and meet up with our friend Jim for a couple days of vertical riding. Then the long drive home. It is perfect timing to get a break from the heat and humidity we have been living with all summer.
Thanks our big news for now. be sure to check out the videos!
July 19, 2016
July 19, 2016
Happy Summer! If you are in or anywhere near the mid-west, you know we are in a furnace, with no end in sight! Guess we got spoiled with cooler temps the past couple summers, we are paying for it now.
But, the heat hasn’t stopped John from riding! He is up and out early and very happy to be back in the early morning riding groove. Giorgio Maddilini, the Italian handcycle maker, took about 3 hours of video John gave him (of John riding in AZ) and made 3, 1-minute video clips. They have been on the Maddiline cycles website but not today. Fortunately, I copied the uTube links and will post them below
June 23, 2016
Addendum 23 June
Created a new photo album “Italy 2016” some photos there. 1/2 are sideways. Dang. Still can’t figure out how to rotate them…
June 23, 2016
23 June, 2016
We are off to a great start here. Had a FABULOUS trip to Italy. Wow. John is so much stronger this year than last. Giorgio of Maddiline Handcycles loaned John a bike for the week and John rode over 125 miles in 5 days. These weren’t easy miles, either! Although he did not get to descend Mt Grappa this year due to sketchy weather on the mountain, he did a lot of up and down riding, including 2 challenging 3 km climbs.
Our friends Jim and Don travelled with us making all the hauling of luggage and on and off airplanes so much easier. They have been dubbed the “John-tourage” and they make traveling and life in general so much easier. Thanks for all you do!
We also met our friend Sharon enroute and she brought 2 friends from Austin, Clarissa and Maria. What a fun group! The entire trip was great and it was fun to share it with old friends and make some new ones.
Since returning to the US June 4 I have been traveling a lot. One trip to Tucson to soak up some of that AZ “dry heat”. Ha! Then, John and I took a trip to PA over father’s day weekend to see his family. Now we are back in Co Mo for awhile, complaining about the heat and humidity, looking for relief!
John is riding as much as possible with some new cycling goals and I am trying to hang on! He is enjoying the slower pace of summer and not having any teaching responsibilities for 2 more months.
Our house is coming along… Keeping fingers crossed that it will be ready for our September move…
I’ll post some Italy photos in John Rides album.
Until next time, enjoy your summer and stay cool!
May 21, 2016
May 21, 2016
Whew! Way too long since my last update… I’ve been traveling a lot (that’s my excuse) and busy with our house remodel. The house is coming along — we have crossed the great divide between destruction and construction! Still no walls or floors, but the electric and plumbing are in, the kitchen cabinets are in the garage, the master bath is designed and being made, and all the kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures are chosen and purchased! That’s enough to keep anyone busy. Looking at moving in September.
In the meantime, John has been busy finishing the semester and completing his first year of full-time work since his injury. I think he is fairly happy with how the semester went, but looking to make some improvements and increase efficiency in his teaching in the fall. Meanwhile, he will have some much needed (in my opinion!) down time this summer.
We are headed to Italy on Tuesday (May 24). We will be traveling with friends, which makes the long travel days much easier… John will borrow a handcycle from Giorgio Madelini, so he can ride without us having to figure out how to get his handcycle to Italy without the airlines crushing it! We will be there about 10 days, staying near Bassano del Grappa.
We also have a trip to York PA scheduled for mid-June, to see John’s family. So, lots of travel coming up. Then, I expect we will stay close to home for awhile.
That’s about all our news for now. I’ll be back after we return from Italy to post some photos.
Happy summer to all!
April 4, 2016
April 3, 2016
Back from a week of Spring Training in Tucson. We were joined by our friends Don and Adrienne. Don and John rode everyday and even got the GoPro camera’s out for some great footage. They are long segments, like 26 minutes, but if John gets them up on uTube, I’ll post a link. Several days out at Saguaro National Park East, doing the 9 mile loop, plus one cold, windy day (up and) Down Mt. Lemmon. Several rides along the Riallto River park. All in all, a great week.
The best news came just before we left for Tucson — John has been placed on the CCI waiting list for a service dog! We are thrilled! Of course, the wait can be up to 2 years, but we are keeping our fingers crossed for a shorter wait. I will keep you posted.
In the meantime, Spring is here and the weather is good. Hope to log more miles with John.
March 25, 2016
March 25, 2016
Yes, Happy Birthday to John! His big day was March 14, 2016. We call it Bonus Year #2 and had a fun “Build your own Pizza” party here on Saturday the 12th. Fun time had by all and some amazing pizza was made and shared.
I think my last post was on Valentines day and MUCH has happened since then! We were in Phoenix then where John attended the Geotechnical Engineering congress Feb 14-17. He had a great time as it was the first time since his accident that he saw many of his engineering colleagues and friends. He LOVED reconnecting with everyone.
After the conference we spend a couple days in Tucson cycling and enjoying the sun and warmth before returning to mid-Missouri. I have to say, the Missouri winter has been very mild, and for that we are grateful!
Our biggest excitement and news since my last post was our trip to the CCI North Central Training Center in Delaware, OH (just north of Columbus) March 9-10. John was there to complete an inperson interview, the final step his application process for a service dog. We traveled late on the 9th and his interview was all afternoon (1-5p) on the 10th. It was an amazing 4 hours. We had a tour, watched a video, learned more about the CCI training program and dogs. Then, the interviewees (John, + 3 other people) learned some basic commands and each interviewee was able to practice the commands with 2 dogs. The dogs so beautiful and well behaved, I just wanted to take them all home! Following the work with the dogs, John participated in an individual interview with one of the training staff where they sought to learn more about John, what he likes to do, what he will need his dog to do. This will help them determine the type of dog, both personality and strength/ability, that will be best suited for John.
All this being said, they are emphatic in their statements that attending the inteview does not guarantee John will be accepted into the program. We are still waiting to hear the final word. If he is accepted, he will be added to their waiting list and it can take up to 2 years to be matched with a dog. So, keep those fingers and toes crossed. I am hoping I will be back here in a few days, with good news! I have posted some photos of John and the dogs in the “Other Activities” photo album.
MU’s spring break starts tomorrow and we will be heading to Tucson for the week. Should be perfect weather for riding!
Thanks to everyone for your continued support — emotional, physical, and financial — it is so appreciated!
February 14, 2016
February 14, 2016
Happy Valentine’s Day!
We have happily escaped the cold, sleet, and snow of the mid-west and are enjoying sunny and unseasonably warm temperatures in Phoenix, AZ! John is here to attend the Geotechnical Congress and I am with him to enjoy the sunshine and warmth! Great timing for a meeting in Arizona.
We have a date for John’s in-person interview with CCI — March 10, at their regional headquarters in Delaware, OH (just north of Columbus). Will keep you updated on how that goes.
In the meantime, remember Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring. Yay!
January 30, 2016
January 29, 2016
Almost a month since I last posted an update — way over due!
We have a great New Years celebration in Tucson — after a 2 day delay in getting from PA to AZ, we did finally make it on Dec. 30, just in time for New Years. Our friend Don was also supposed to arrive on Dec 28, but after making all the arrangements for him to be there ahead of us for 2 days, his 28 Dec flight was also cancelled. He was not able to be re-booked until Dec 31, so did make it without problems that day.
We celebrated New Year’s peacefully with our long time friends Karen and Walter Lane. Their tradition is to watch the ball drop, then go to bed. They are typically “early to bed” folks so it’s fortunate they live in AZ where the Times Square ball drops at 10pm. We departed their house shortly after 10, but I did manage to stay awake until midnight, welcoming the new year — Bonus Year #2!
John and Don enjoyed the unseasonable warm (mid-70s!) but typically sunny days of Jan 1-3, riding each day. Then, Don accompanied John on a trip back to KC for a faculty strategic planning workshop, Jan 4-6. I stayed in Tucson as my brother, nephew and their families were coming to visit and finalize some things from my father’s estate. Upon John’s return, we were able to get a few more rides under our belt before returning to Columbia on Jan 13.
Good news on the CCI application — John completed the phone interview and was approved for the next step, a MD referral. His doctor completed the form, it was sent in, and today John received an invitation from CCI for a personal interview! This is the last step in the application process. The personal interview consists of a trip to the regional CCI training center in Ohio. Once there John and I will view a video, tour the facility, be introduced to several CCI dogs and learn basic commands. We will be evaluated on whether we can appropriately interact with the dogs. Then, John will have another interview with several CCI staff. Following this in-person interview, all his application materials will be reviewed again and he will learn if he is approved and put on the waiting list. We are not sure yet when the interview will take place. It looks like there are some slots in March, then not again until the end of June. We are hoping for a March interview! So, keep all those fingers and toes crossed!
MU classes started 19 January so the semester is now in full swing. John is teaching a graduate class, and undergraduate class and is responsible for the Geotech seminar — a full load, to be sure! He also continues to go to PT once a week and has added personal yoga practice under the guidance of Liz Krug. We are so thankful for Liz and her thoughtful help in addressing John’s condition and special needs.
I will post Tucson riding photos in John’s rides album and yoga pics in the other activities album. Hopefully they all won’t be sideways…
Thanks to you all for your continued love and support.
Until next time,
December 30, 2015
December 30, 2015
Happy New Year! And what a year it has been…
Just one year ago, on 31 Dec 2014, John was discharged from The Shepherd Center and we flew home on Jan 1, 2015. He has made tremendous progress in building strength and independence this year and I can honestly say, just as they told us when he was still in the ICU at UVa medical center – John can do everything he did before his injury, just some things he does a little differently. Hallelujah!
John has completed the fall semester at MU, working full time and so glad to be back with the students and his faculty colleagues. He is definitely in his element there. He is looking forward to a little down time before returning full-steam in January.
We traveled to Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with John’s siblings and also had a nice visit with his mother. Now, we are headed to Tucson for some sunshine and cycling before returning to the gray mid-west winter and record flooding in MO.
I have more good news about John’s application for a service dog – he has passed the next step in the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) process and has a phone interview scheduled for January 8th. So, continue to keep all those fingers and toes crossed for him!
As this “Bonus Year #1” comes to an end I want to again thank all our friends and loved ones for your continued love and support. You have helped make this year so much easier for both John and I and we are sincerely grateful. May 2016 be a year of good fortune and joy for all. Until next year…
December 2, 2015
December 1, 2015
It’s hard to believe that the holidays are upon us and the year is almost over! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday in Tucson. It was the first time John stayed at our home there — all the renovations are complete and he tested out all the widened doorways and the new, accessible bathroom. Given that we had to work within existing space, it is not perfect, but it is comfortable. Now, we just need some furniture!
We enjoyed riding every day in the perfect, sunny, Arizona weather. I have posted a couple riding photos of John on his Italian hand bike in Tucson. The riding is quite favorable for hand cycling there as they have an excellent network of paved trails and bikeways.
We shared Thanksgiving dinner with our good friends Karen and Walter Lane, and several of their immediate family members. It was a lovely afternoon. (photo in the special moments album)
We returned to CoMO on Friday evening, to rain and cold weather! Good weather for hunkering down and getting caught up on mundane household chores (for me) and homework grading (for John). We are anticipating temps in the 50s this weekend, and hope to get out for some more riding.
John is busy wrapping up the end of this semseter, thankful for all the support he has received at the University and just glad to be back at work, in general. We plan to visit his siblings in PA for Christmas, then head to Tucson for a couple weeks. We will host friends and family there. I hope to post another update before the end of the year but if I miss you between now and then know we send all the best for your holiday celebrations!
As we near the end of the year I would like to thank everyone once again for all the love and support you have given John and me. For those of you who have donated to John’s HelpHOPELive fund please know we are extremely grateful. To date those funds have been used to purchase the Electrical Stimulation bike (specal thanks to our good friend who donated funds for this), 2 hand cycles, and the adaptive equipment for John’s car. Our life would be much more challenging without all of you and your love and support. We look forward to celebrating another year with you!
Have a joyous holiday season.
November 22, 2015
November 22, 2015
Well, it snowed here yesterday (albeit just a little) and today it’s sunny but COLD. So, we’re headed to Tucson! Will spend the week there and celebrate Thanksgiving with our good friends Karen and Walter Lane, and their families. We have spent many Thanksgivings in Tucson; however, this will be the first one without one or both of my parents. I am thankful they had good, long lives and are now together again.
I have been traveling a bit this month and consequently, negligent in posting timely updates. But, all is good.
John’s sleek, fast, Italian racing hand bike arrived in Mid-Missouri early this month! John rode it for 2 weekends. His verdict — “It’s FAST!” On Nov. 12, I packed it up in our little station wagon and drove the bike out to Tucson for the winter. John was sorry to see it go, but it is truly a road bike and will not fare well in the MO winter. He is looking forward to riding it this week and for 3 weeks over Christmas break in the sunny southwest. After Spring Break in March, we will figure out how to get it back to MO for the spring and summer (I am not planning on doing that drive again!). I posted 2 photos in the John Rides! album of him on the bike in MO.
The other really great news is that we learned this week that John was invited to apply for a CCI assistance dog! Wahoo! He has made it past the first hurdle in this long application process. The application and accompanying information details the 8 steps to approval and recieving a dog, which includes THREE interviews and references. I will keep you posted as we continue on this journey. Please continue to keep your fingers crossed.
As the holidays approach I have taken time to sit back and reflect on the last year and am continually amazed at the progress John has made — from near death to full independence. John’s positive, can-do attitude and optimism has played a important role in his recovery, but equally important is all the love and support we have received from colleagues, friends and loved ones. Donations to this site have made it possible for us to purchase the FES (electrical stimulation) bike, and 2 hand cycles. You know John and know that he is never happier than when he is riding a bike, and you all have made this possible for him. We are deeply indebted to you. Thank you for contributing to his happiness and well-being.
I know I cannot adequately express my gratitude to all the people that have made our journey to today a bit easier and much more joyful. So, I will simply say thank you all for your continued love and support.
Happy Thanksgiving! Know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
October 30, 2015
Oct 29, 2015 — Addendum
Dang! I knew I should have read my posting before hitting save… Always proof-read. But, I didn’t and it is obvious. Apologies for the typos.
Photos are in the special moments album. Scroll to the bottom.
October 30, 2015
Thursday Oct 29, 2015
Fall seems to always speed by, so much going on. We are enjoying the lovely change in the weather and beautiful fall colors. John is in the swing of things at school, and expert driver now and usually getting lucky and scoring a parking spot right outside his building. He had a few issues with his lift not working, but the United Access guy correctly diagnosed the problem resulting from a faulty fuse, so that was replaced and everything has worked perfectly since.
We traveled to Washington DC 2 weeks ago to attend my father’s service at Arlington National Cemetery. It was a perfect fall day, 67F and not a cloud in the sky. The service was incredibly moving and it was good to now my father is at peace, reunited with my mother. John traveled back to Columbia with our friend Jim while I stayed a few more days to visit with family and friends.
The next weekend there was an event in Columbia featuring the organization Canine Companions for Independence. This organization trains service dogs and then pairs them with people. We became familiar with CCI dogs when John was at the Shepherd Center last fall as they had several CCI facility dogs there. I have wanted John to apply for a dog, thinking it would keep him company when I am traveling and help him with things and generally make his life better. John was hesitant to apply, but after attending the event last weekend, meeting some people who have dogs and seeing all the dogs he was sold! The application process is long and very selective. In fact, the first step is an application to request an application! He will know in the next 6 weeks whether he can apply or not. If he can apply then it is up to 6 months after he applies before he knows if he is selected to receive a dog and if selected up to 18months before he is matched with a dog. Wow. There are no guaranteed so please keep all your fingers and toes crossed for john to be successful in this process.
Another really fun event occurred this month. The Disability Cordinator for faculty and staff at MU, Amber Cheek, arranged a wheelchair accessibility tour of campus for the President, Chancellor, and Provost of the MU Campus, and she invited John to participate! What a great and eye-opening experience that was. John had a great time and enjoyed sharing some of the challenges he has navigating the campus with these upper level administrators.
I’ve added a few photos to John’s Activities photo album. Sure wish all the photos weren’t sideways….
Great dog pictures, though!
Until next time,
October 2, 2015
Friday Oct 2, 2015
Happy Fall! We are having lovely, Fall weather in Mid-MO right now. Downright cool in the mornings and perfectly sunny and cool afternoons.
John and I took a trip last week to celebrate the world cycling championships. Even saw some of the race action on TV. We are back in Mid-MO, getting caught up. John is having some problems with his Speedy Lift. 🙁 This is very inconvenient! Hopefully the folks who installed it can figure out what the problem is, otherwise, I might have to resume my chauffeur duties and I have really gotten used to having my free, flexible time.
Our friend Anatolie made an advanced roller bar for the back of John’s handcycle. We tested it out last week and it worked great. This allows someone on a bicycle to ride behind John and touch their wheel to the roller bar and provide John a bit of a push. Although it might seem like this would give John a rest he says it actually causes him to work harder as he is (hand) pedaling faster and there is no coasting. It is fun for everyone. Thanks Anatolie!
We had a great visit with good friends from North Carolina this week — Joanna and Patrick were traveling through town on their way to Colorado. So good to catch up with them.
We are starting to plan out our modifications to our new Columbia home. Met with the Kitchen designer this week. Looks like we will have a state of the art, accessible kitchen, except that John still insists that he doesn’t need the sink low enough for him to wash dishes! Hmmmmm. We will have some fun with the design team.
The weather should be perfect for a long ride or 2 this weekend. We are looking forward to getting out and hope you all do too!
September 19, 2015
September 19, 2015
Things are crusing along. The MU semester is in full swing, fall is in the air, MU football and the Roots n Blues festival are clogging up the streets, and John is getting around like a pro in the Mazda 5. He is now doing errands for me — he took my bike to the shop last week! 🙂 He has also had another first — filling the car up with gas. It occurred to me last week that eventually he would need gas, but I didn’t give it another thought. He didn’t either, apparently, because he can’t see the gas gauge in the car, but yesterday was the day! As he headed off to school he was alerted by bells and whistles that the tank was nearly empty. You know what they say, necessity is the mother of invention — he remembered that the Mutrux Sinclair station not far from us is a full service station, so he drove over and the kind folks there filled him right up! Much easier and quicker than self serve.
We closed on our Columbia home and have just started looking at modifications. I expect it will be 6 months before it is ready for us, which is fine with me as I am in no hurry to move again. It will be good to get settled in our own place, once we have it ready but no need to move before the end of the year — the fall is already too busy!
And, more good news — our Tucson townhome is just about finished — painting and finish work now. Just in time for cooler weather and our Thanksgiving visit. Also good to be working on only 1 home remodel at a time.
We are coming up on the 1-year anniversary of John’s accident, Sept 28. What a year it has been. John has gone from near death to fully independent with a significant spinal cord injury. In the past year he has re-learned how to do EVERYTHING — from personal care to riding a bike and driving a car. It is remarkable, really. The love and support from everyone — friends, loved ones, colleagues, students, stangers — has been remarkable and smoothed the way the entire year. We are so fortunate to have this enormous network of love and support, and oh so grateful.
We will be traveling next week, celebrating life and the world cycling championships, returning to Columbia on the 28th. Love to all.
September 6, 2015
Sept 5, 2015, #2
Photos uploaded to “Special Moments” album and from today’s ride in the John Rides!…album… Check them out!
September 6, 2015
September 5, 2015
Happy Labor Day Weekend!!!
John is now an experienced driver with hand controls! He has driven himself to MU most every day the past 2 weeks. He is totally enjoying being back at the University, engaging with students, faculty colleagues and others. He is back in his element and happy to be there. All good.
I, on the other hand, have retired from MU. 🙂 I have some other work lined up and am also in my element now. Life is good.
I was in Tucson again last week. We have purchased a townhome there (can’t remember if I posted that before) and have a contractor making some modifications to make it easier for John to get around. I went to check on progress. All going well and should be ready in 2 weeks.
Our friend Don was here last week, hanging out with John and running errands for me while I was away. Thank you Don, for all you do! John drove them to the first cyclocross training race on Tuesday — photo posted in the Acitivities photo album.
After a couple weeks of unseasonable cool August weather, September arrived with a blast of hot air. We did ride anyway today, in the heat. Last week our friend Anatolie made a roller for the back of John’s hand cycle. This allows someone on a bicycle to “push” John while riding. A special workout for both John and the “pusher”! What a great invention. Today, our friend Jim rode with us and ‘assisted’ John on several occasions. John says it’s not really an assist as cranking faster makes him work harder than riding on his own. I say it is a great training aid. Thanks to Anatolie for this.
The other news here is that we have bought a house in Columbia. Scheduled to close on Tuesday Sept 8. We will have to make several modifications, so will not be moving right away, but are looking forward to getting settled in our new home in a couple months.
More news soon!
August 21, 2015
August 21, 2015
WARNING! This is a warning to anyone on the roads of Columbia, John is driving! Watch out!
Actually, this feels like a landmark event. Aside from the fact that John never liked driving anyway, and avoided it as much as possible, the fact that he can drive now feels like a huge accomplishment. At least to me. Probably because I was feeling very much like a “soccer mom” — on call to drive all the time.
After I picked up the M5 (as I call it…), we stopped by our local United Access office and arranged to have them order all the modifications. In addition to the hand controls, we got the “Speedy Lift” robotic arm that picks up John’s chair and puts it in the back of the M5, behind the driver seat.
A HUGE thank you to everyone who has contributed to John’s HelpHOPELive fund. I know he is behind in sending thank you notes but please know how grateful we are for everyone’s generosity. We used these funds to purchase and install all the vehicle modifications (>$9,000). These modifications make driving not only possible but much easier for John. Using the speedylift means he does not have to take his wheelchair apart and get it in the passenger seat, saving him a lot of energy everytime he gets in the driver’s seat. He prefers to save his energy for cycling and these modifications permit him to do that.
The M5 was ready for pick up yesterday. We went over, received instructions on how everything worked and John drove home. 🙂 He drove to MU today. Yay! As John says, he needs some practice driving, and also getting in and out of the M5 — hand controls seem to get in the way a bit of his legs when entering and exiting. But, he did it. And, he has as much opportunity to practice as he wants.
School starts on Monday and John will be teaching one graduate class and organizing the Geotech seminar. This will require him to be on campus Tues, Thurs, and Fridays. I expect he will tire quickly of driving and be working on getting his bicycle commuting routine worked out soon.
He has been riding quite a lot these past 2 weeks as the weather has cooled down a bit. We have had some lovely evenings and even brisk mornings. I was in DC last week for some work meetings and John easily stayed home alone. I will head out to Tucson at the end of the month for a few days.
I have posted photos of John and the M5 in the John rides… album. Greetings and thanks to all.
August 6, 2015
August 6, 2015
We bought a car for John! Last Saturday we drove to St Louis to buy the car John picked out. It is a Mazda5, a true “mini” van in these days when cars keep getting bigger and bigger. We first heard about this car when we were at Shepherd in Atlanta. The driving instructor told John about it. Several characteristics make it unique and appealing to someone in a wheelchair. First of all, it sits low, on a sedan chassis, so it is easy to transfer into from a wheelchair — unlike a van or an SUV. And, there is a special mechanical arm that can be mounted behind the driver’s seat that will reach out, grab a wheelchair, and put it in the car — easy! We plan to get this lift so John won’t have to spend a lot of time and energy disassembling his wheelchair and putting it in the passenger seat — he can save his energy for riding his bike and other fun adventures! Here are links to a couple videos that show the lift we’ll have installed…
We couldn’t bring the car home last Saturday because we didn’t have another driver so I will go to St Louis tomorrow to pick it up. I’ve posted a photo of John in his new car in the John rides… album.
The other great news is that John’s standing wheel chair arrived! This is a chair the University purchased for John to accomodate his teaching and supervising students in the lab. It is such a pleasure to have John back at eye level! We brought the chair home last weekend so John could spend some time standing and have his body get used to standing again. He hadn’t stood since last December, in Atlanta so it will take a little time before he can stand for any length of time. At home, he found he could do laundry in our top loading washer, and get into my stash of chocolate!
Today we are planning a kayaking outting with some friends… I’ll post more about that later.
Thanks again to everyone who has donated to John’s fund. We have used this fund to pay for John’s Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike, his handbike, and now his adaptive equiptment for the car. Although John is way behind in sending personal notes of thanks, we both want yoyu to know how grateful we are for your generosity.
July 24, 2015
July 24, 2015
I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last update. My bad…I have been traveling so much, this is the first full week I’ve been in Columbia since we returned from Italy. Makes keeping up with anything a challenge, to be sure!
In mid-June John and I took a quick trip to Tucson — in town for 4 days of “excessive heat,” which if you think about it is quite a remarkable weather warning when it refers to the desert in June… It was quite hot, but we survived.
Upon our return, I quickly left town again for 10 days. John stayed in Columbia during this time. Our good friend Louise drove him wherever he needed to go and ran errands, etc for the first 5 days (thanks Louise!) I was gone. Then Don arrived from WV to hang with John the rest of the time. They had many adventures, many they won’t tell me about! I do know John was doing tricks at the bike park and managed to dump the bike (and himself) — that adventure left physical evidence. When I asked about the abrasions I learned there was also a video! I’m still disappointed that there is no way to post videos on this site…John and Don always have a great time together.
I returned to Columbia in time to see our friends Linda and David Bullock during their visit to Columbia. Linda and David live in Charlottesville, VA and provided love, support, housing, laundry, meals, and so much more during John’s 3 week hospitalization there after his accident. It was so good to see them.
On July 8, John and I travelled to Pennsylvania to visit his family and a couple colleagues. John had not seen his brother and one sister since before his accident, so it was very good for all sibs to be together again.
When not travelling this summer John has been working a lot, helping students complete their research and theses so they can graduate, and working on his research. He is riding as much as possible, but some very hot days have keep him inside. This week we finally had a break in the weather and have enjoyed great rides the past 3 days.
One final challenge for John is driving, but we are hoping to have him set up to drive by the time school starts next month. It looks like this will involve buying a new car, Although he can easily get in the passenger seat of our car and his wheelchair fits, (and now his bike fits, too — thanks to Mark Bendel for putting quick releases on the back wheels!) in order for him to drive he has to be able to get in the drivers seat (easy) and then disessemble his wheel chair and get that in the passenger seat — not so easy because our car is small. We will be car shopping today — I’ll keep you posted on what we find!
I will be better about posting updates now that my traveling has slowed down!
Sending love and gratitude to all.
June 13, 2015
13 June 2015
Back in Columbia.
Italy was great! Successful trip. John LOVED riding the Maddiline Carbide on all the familiar roads around Bassano del Grappa. Thanks to our good friends Sharon and Don for providing riding companionship. We had an excellent trip.
Only one dissapointment. John was really looking forward to riding this sleep Italian racing machine down Mt. Grappa. I delivered him to the top, where Sharon and Don met us. I waited about 1/3 of the way down. When they arrived they stopped to check out a noise coming from one of the back wheels. Turns out the cap that keeps the wheel on the bike had popped off on the way down, so there was essentially nothing holding the wheel on! Yikes! As a result, John had to end his descent there and ride the rest of the way down in the car.
After trying to reach Giorgio at Maddiline cycles, without success, we took the wheel to Jimmy’s friend who owns the local vespa store. I dropped the wheel of, when shopping in Bassano, returned 3 hours later and he had fashioned a fix! When we returned the bike with the wheel fix to Giorgio, he just shrugged and said “prototype”! No worries. Gotta love the Italian way. 🙂
John also discovered one of the advantages of riding a low-slung recombant bike — he could ride right under the barriers on the Bassano – Trento bike path! Photos of this and other good times in Italy posted in that album.
So, we are back in CoMO. John is working most afternoons, he has a number of students working on finishing theses so they can graduate. The weather has turned hot and humid. John is riding as much as possible, which is most days. Preparing for his next cycling adventure!
All is good!
May 31, 2015
May 31, 2015
Buorn Giorno! We are in Italy! Yes, it’s true. One of the first things John asked me when he was in the hospital in Virginia, before he knew the extent of his injuries or the prognosis, was “does this mean we can’t go to Italy?”
“No! Of course not. We will go back to Italy” was my confident response. I was not exactly sure when, or how we would do it, but now, 8 months after John sustained life threatening injuries, here we are!
We left the US last Tuesday, May 26 and are staying near Bassano del Grappa, where we have been many times. Although we can not stay at Albergo Volpara because it is not accessible, there is a lovely hotel less than a mile away that is. We are fortunate to have 2 good friends here with us, Sharon and Don. The weather has been perfect, too.
Not only are we in Italy, but John has secured a carbon fiber racing hand bike to ride while here! Maddiline cycles makes custom hand bikes at their small factory just NW or Verona, about 1.5 hour drive from where we are. John and Jimmy Castellan (friend and propriator of Volpara), contacted them a couple weeks ago and asked if it would be possible to try one of their hand cycles during our stay. Yesterday, we drove over there, Giorgio fitted John and we drove away with a beautiful, sleek, carbon fiber machine (photos will be posted in a new Album — John in Italy)!
He took his first ride yesterday eve, with Don and Sharon. About an hour later, I was walking down the road when they blew by me — John in the lead and Sharon and Don trying to catch up! My first thought was — we are all in trouble now!
The bike is fantastic and the weather forecast is good. He plans to ride every day, until we return the bike on Wed. 3 June in preparation to return to the US on Thursday. It is a relatively short trip (for us), but a good one to get the lay of the land with John’s new mobility and work out a few kinks. Great preparation for future trips.
I will attempt to post some photos now — the wifi is slow, so hope they will load. Will try to return with an update before we leave on Thursday.
May 16, 2015
May 16, 2015
Lots of good news this week.
We finished moving out of our Garth Ave house and closed the sale on Tuesday. Whew! Now, we just have to get stuff put away here…
Also, John learned from the MU Disability Coordinator that the University has agreed to purchase a standing wheel chair for John, for use in teaching. This is HUGE and we are very pleased. In addition to greatly facilitating his teaching, especially laboratory classes, it will facilitate his commuting to school on his hand cycle as he will have a wheelchair there he can transfer into. We are not sure how long it will take to get, but know the ordering process has been started.
With this in mind, John decided to get out early today, beat the forecast rain, and ride his bike to school so he could see how long it takes. 48 minutes from home to the Engineering building. Not bad. Even better, it was about 10 minutes faster getting home. We did get rained on on the way home, but fortunately it wasn’t heavy rain. I’ve added some photos from today’s adventure in the John Rides album.
I hope everyone is enjoying this fabulous spring as much as we are!
May 10, 2015
9 May 2015
John’s been riding his bike like crazy! Until it started raining, that is. And until I pointed out that we are down to the wire on getting everything out of our Garth ave house in advance of our sale closing date — Tuesday. So, for the past 3 days John and I have spent 6-8 hours per day at the house, getting all the stuff out (or thrown out!). Tomorrow will be a marathon because I only want to be cleaning on Monday…
Thanks to all our friends who have helped me move boxes and the final pieces of furniture. I (and my back!) are so grateful.
Before John got on the forced marathon move, he completed his longest ride to date — 18 miles last Saturday. There was a 26 mile circumnavigation of Columbia planned for bike, walk, and wheel week today. John REALLY wanted to do this, but with rain threatening (and it did rain!), he passed. We have printed the map and hope to do it on a more pleasant weather day in the near future.
Even though the rain and the move has kept John off the hand bike, he has been “riding” his FES bike religiously at least 4 days per week. He sweats and is tired when he finishes his 1 hour workout, so it must be doing something beneficial!
Our friend Dean Hargett sent us a few photos from the FONDO that I have uploaded in the Fondo album.
OK, one final day of packing and moving, then back on the bike!
Wishing you all good weather and fine riding!
May 5, 2015
This is John writing (a first for this site). I want to thank everyone for coming out to the Fondo and I hope you had as much fun as I did. A special thanks to everyone at Walt’s Bike Shop for making the Fondo a reality. You are a special group.
April 29, 2015
April 28, 2015
Wow! The BoCoMo Fondo was fabulous in every way! After storms and pouring rain all day Saturday, the thunderheads moved on, the clouds parted and we had perfect weather for the Fondo on Sunday. John rode his new bike for the second time and FLEW to Rocheport and back. Next year he will be doing the 30 mile route, for sure.
Thanks to everyone who rode — we understand there were approximately 120 registered riders! Thanks especially to those who traveled to ride, we had friends from Kansas City, West Virginia, and Arkansas join us. And, thanks to our friends who couldn’t travel to ride, but registered so they could be with John in spirit.
Special thanks to Sarah, Mark, Jesse, and all the folks at Walts for organizing this special day. Thanks to Katfish Katy’s for hosting us and providing post ride beer, and to the band — the music was great. Thanks to everyone else who donated time, food, money, and the t-shirt silkscreener who custom made the t-shirts. We are so thankful for everyone’s support. I am sure I forgot to thank someone — please know we are eternally grateful to all.
I have posted photos in a new album — BoCoMo FONDO.
April 26, 2015
Saturday April 25
Well, tomorrow is the BoCoMo FONDO ride and I am so happy to report that John’s new TopEnd Force 3 hand cycle arrived! Apparently it was delivered to Walts Wednesday and Mark stayed late to assemble it. John and I were scheduled to stop by Thursday afternoon, so the Walt’s crew kept the bike’s arrival a big surprise, and what a surprise it was! John took it for a test ride in the parking lot and Sarah and Bob dialed in the leg support. Mark delivered the bike to our house on Friday and the rain held off long enough for John to take if for a ride. Ride report is that it is GREAT!
I have posted some photos in the ‘John rides’ album and John will be showing it off tomorrow at the BoCoMo fondo. We are looking forward to seeing everyone out there tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for your support and special thanks to Walts for organizing this event. We are extremely grateful.
Stay tuned for the post-ride report.
April 23, 2015
Bike ride fundraiser featured in the Columbia Heart Beat: www.columbiaheartbeat.com
April 20, 2015
April 19, 2015
Way overdue for an update, I know. Lots of good news to report.
Most importantly, John spent a week home alone while I was out of town attending a conference and was completely independent! Well, aside from driving, so special thanks to our friend Louise Miller who provided transportation and taxi services, and to Brent Rosenblad, who drove John to and from work. Also big thanks to Louise for taking care of the laundry while i was gone. Although our rental home is accessible, the washer and dryer are not…Thanks also to all our friends who volunteered to be “on call” should John need anything in a pinch, and to everyone who stopped by, brought food, visited, called, etc. We are so fortunate to have such good friends. When I returned, John said he felt like he graduated again, possibly even better than his Shepherd Center graduation. We never lose sight of the fact that we learned all the skills necessary for John’s independence at the Shepherd Center, we are so thankful for the expertise of the staff there.
The other big news is that yesterday, the FES bike was “installed” by Tim, who traveled from Chicago to get the machine built and us trained. I’ve posted a couple photos in the John Rides album. If you want to know more about FES, here is the link to the company who made John’s FES “bike”. www.restorative-therapies.com A sincere thank you to our good friend who made purchasing this bike possible.
Although John’s hand bike has not yet arrived, we are still hoping for delivery this week, ahead of the BoCoMo Fondo next Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed! We are looking forward to the Fondo on the 27th and hope to see many folks out there! Thanks to everyone who has registered so far.
April 8, 2015
April 7, 2015
The FES bike was delivered yesterday. Unfortunately, I will be out of town for a week, so installation is now scheduled for Saturday April 18.
Yes, you read that right, I am headed out of town tomorrow for a week. Not just out of town, but out of the country. This is more significant because John will be staying home alone while I am gone. He has worked incredibly hard to become totally self sufficient. It is amazing that 6 months ago he sustained life threatening injuries and now, after relearning how to do every thing, he is self sufficient. Oh, except for driving… Friends and colleagues will be providing transportation over the next week. We also have friends who have volunteered to be “on call” should John need help urgently. We are incredibly thankful for all this support.
More to come after I return…
April 5, 2015
April 5, 2015
Slight disappointment. the FES bike was scheduled to be delivered on Friday and the installer/trainer was all set to fly in on Saturday for the installation and training session. Well, by Friday night when there was clearly no FES bike delivered, we contacted the installer to learn that the UPS delivery had been held up somewhere by bad weather, so new scheduled delivery date is Monday. Although it may seem like a small setback, due to the installation weekend-only schedule and the fact that I am out of town next weekend, John won’t have his FES bike until April 18. A disappointment for us.
On the positive side, please note that registration for the BOCOMO Fondo bike ride is open! Simply click on the “register” button below. We are looking forward to seeing many of our friends at the ride on April 26!
Weather in Columbia has warmed up and dried out this weekend. John and did a warm up ride of 5.5 miles yesterday. Looking forward to getting out again today.
Our best to all of you!
April 1, 2015
March 31, 2015
Way back last fall, when a John was still at Shepherd Center in Atlanta and learning that one of the side effects of a spinal cord injury is that your body’s temperature control mechanism doesn’t work like before, we agreed that we would spend Spring Break in Tucson. And, so we did! It was a lovely break! The highlight was definitely our weekend at the OK Ranch – our friends’ cattle ranch in SE Arizona, right in the heart of the Chiricahua Mountains. I’ve added photos from our ranch tour, via Tundra Truck, in the Special Moments album.
The OK Ranch is a spectacular place. Our friend Walt is quite the astronomer, and he got out his telescope for us. The rural AZ sky is an incredible sight. We saw Mars, Jupiter, and the moon. Even though the moon was only ½, it lit up the sky so much that we could see our shadow! We learned that it is best to visit the rqnch during the new moon — less light so best for star gazing.
We are getting caught up again, post spring break, and looking forward to the delivery of the FES bike this weekend!
March 23, 2015
March 23, 2015
He did it!! Photo documentation that John rode all the way to McBaine (Hindman Junction), MO on the MKT trail. Thanks to friends Seth, Dean, and Louise for the escort. It was a lovely day and milestone accomplishment for John — less that 6 months after sustaining life threatening injuries, he rode nearly 15 miles on a hand bike. Not to mention that the city/county had dumped a new load of pea gravel on the trail making it like running in sand — an added challenge but not one that could keep John down.
He is SO looking forward to his new hand bike, hoping it comes in earlier than the estimated end of April date. Keep your fingers crossed.
We do have good news on the FES bike — it is scheduled for delivery and installation on April 4th! John is really looking forward to the benefits of this equipment. thanks again to our dear friend who made this happen.
We are headed to Arizona tomorrow and will spend the weekend on our friend’s ranch in SE Arizona. John says he wants to ride a horse while there…. Stay tuned!
March 22, 2015
March 22, 2015
We are enjoying perfect spring weather this weekend and you know what that means…Time to ride!
John rode 4 consecutive days last week — Sat-Tuesday. This string included his longest rid to date last Sunday. Wednesday and Thursday brought cold rainy weather, providing a perfect excuse for a couple well-deserved rest days! After a short (5.5 mile) warm up ride yesterday John is planning to ride to McBaine MO on the MKT trail today. Not exactly how far that is, but definitely more than the 9.3 miles he rode last Sunday. Several friends will be joining us. I will post photos this evening. Wish us luck and strong arms for john!
We are taking a big step forward in our new life by putting our house on the market to sell. We have lived at 407 S Garth Ave for 17 years. We have truly made this house a home and have great friends in many neighbors. We worked with a contractor and explored every option possible to make the home accessible for John. In the end we realized that the major modifications necessary would completely and permanently change the character of our home. Rather than do this, we will sell and hope to find buyers that will love and appreciate the home and neighbors as much as we have.
An equally large step for me is to officially change our address. Somehow, this seems more permanent than telling folks our house is for sale, and has been especially hard for me to do. But, it is done. Form submitted to the USPS on Friday. Now, I share our home address with all of you —
2613 Face Rock Court, Columbia, MO 65203.
Stay tuned for tales and photos of our ride today!
March 16, 2015
Sunday March 15, 2015
Yesterday was a big day here — not only was it Pi day (3.14.15), it was John’s birthday! Definitely a day to celebrate! We enjoyed the company of our friends from Switzerland, Evelyne and Verena, who are currently on sabbatical in Berkeley, CA. Although they didn’t fly from Switzerland to visit for the weekend, it took them as long to get here after delays departing SF and having missed the last flight from Dallas to Columbia on Friday. They overnighted in Dallas and arrived in Columbia around 1pm on Saturday. Also arriving Saturday afternoon was our good friend Teri Covington, from Michigan. John and I took them on a quick tour of MU campus and downtown before returning to our home for John’s birthday celebration.
We had a few friends over for a Potluck dinner, a cultural experience for Evelyne and Verena. Taking the cultural experience further, people were asked to bring “American Food,” making for an interesting menu! Although there were lots of jokes about Jello salads and tuna noodle casserole and the addition of “American Cheese” to the cheese plate, all the food was lovely and delicious!
John was able to go out for a short birthday ride, before our out of town guests arrived. Today was a perfect, sunny, 70F day, so we took advantage of it and the good trail conditions and went for a long ride –9.3 miles, John’s longest ride to date! A great day for John.
John (with the help of Mark Bendel at Walt’s) has ordered a hand bike which was scheduled to arrive by now. Unfortunately, last week Top End called Mark to tell him that delivery of the bike has been delayed until the end of April 🙁 Disappointing. I was hoping John would have it for his birthday…
On a positive note, Walt’s bicycle shop is hosting the BOCOMO fondo bike ride on April 26, and this will be a fund raiser for John. We are excited about the ride and so grateful to Sarah and all the others at Walts for doing this in John’s honor. John does plan to ride and we are hoping that many of John’s friends from near and far will join us on that ride. There is a flyer attached below and more details to come save the date, Sunday April 26, 2015!
I have posted photos of John’s birthday and his rides the past 2 days in the Special Moments and John Rides albums.
March 9, 2015
Sunday March 8, 2015
I am back in MO, just in time for incredible, warm, spring-like weather! It was high 50sF yesterday and about 65F today. Perfect weather for a ride! Yesterday the ride started at our house — just like old times. Seven of our favorite cycling friends came over to start the ride (photos posted in John Rides album). It was a lovely day.
I think John may have had too much fun with his friend Don while I was in AZ. Although the weather was cold and wintry the entire week, they managed to ride in the garage almost every day. Don on rollers and John on the trainer. They even got John on the rollers on his hand bike! Apologies to our non-cycling friends — lots of cycling jargon here.
I sincerely appreciate Don’s flexibility and willingness to stay with John while I was out of town. Having him here was a huge relief.
John did send photos of his new, custom wheelchair. It is fast, light, and good looking!
Photos of all these activities posted in John Rides album.
More news soon!
March 3, 2015
Photos added. Sometimes when adding photos to this site, they are rotated. In the past I’ve been able to delete and re-upload, and viola! the photo is then correctly oriented,. Not this time, so John is riding on his side. 🙁
March 3, 2015
March 3, 2015
Oh boy, way too long since my last update. Apologies.
I had to travel to Arizona and have been immersed here, but do want to give a brief update on John.
It is STILL very cold in MO and up to 7 inches of snow fell over the weekend, but it hasn’t stopped John from riding! He found a 12 week hand bike training program online and is committed to completing it. With all the wintry weather he became desperate and hooked his loaner hand bike up to an indoor trainer and has been riding in the garage 3-4 days per week, as outlined in the training program. I’ve posted a couple photos in the John Rides album.
Other great news is that his custom wheelchair has FINALLY arrived! He was fitted for the chair last Friday and is still getting used to the slightly different feel. It is a beauty and has fast light wheels (that are not falling apart, like the wheels on the loaner chair!) I know he was glad to give that loaner wheelchair back! I have asked him for photos of the new chair and he has promised them. Will post as soon as they arrive.
While I am in Arizona, our good friend Don is staying with John in Columbia. They seem to be having a great time. I hear rumor they spent some time at Walts Bike Shop yesterday and got an update on arrival of John’s bike — maybe in time for his birthday! Wouldn’t that be a perfect present?
February 21, 2015
Saturday Feb. 21, 2015
We are in the deep freeze here! About 6 inches of snow fell last Sunday night – Monday morning, resulting in school closings — even MU… A couple of our friends skied over for a visit Monday morning, such a nice surprise. Monday evening we were fortunate to have a friend from here, currently living in Pittsburgh, visit. She brought an entire picnic basket of food and we enjoyed a great ‘catch up’ visit.
Although MU was closed, the hospital and clinics were not, so John did get out for his PT appointment. All roads passable by Monday afternoon.
The weather has remained cold all week, so we still have snow on the ground. Last night even got some freezing rain, sleet and a dusting of snow. Consequently, no bike riding this week or this weekend. 🙁
John has eased right back into his work schedule, albeit part-time right now. He is on campus Wednesday and Friday afternoons and working from home an hour or three most other days. He is glad to be back to work and all is going well.
More good news this week — his wheelchair will be ready for fitting and pick up on Tuesday! He was discharged from Shepherd with a “loaner” chair for his use while all the insurance approvals went through and his custom wheel chair was made. It is finally ready! I’ll post an update and photos next week.
Thanks to all for your continued support!
February 16, 2015
Sunday Feb 15, 2015
Busy week that sped by. Lots of catching up after our week in Arizona.
Several notable events. We ordered an FES bike for John using HelpHOPELive funds! A long time friend and colleague of John’s ensured we had enough money in the HHL fund to purchase this important piece of medical equipment. We are SO THANKFUL! It will take 5-6 weeks before it is delivered and set up, but we will anxiously await it’s arrival.
John continues to learn important tricks from his local PT and OT therapists. He has been studying floor/chair transfer techniques posted on YouTube and practicing them with his therapists input. YouTube is amazing and has provided important tips. Once John i proficient in floor to chair transfer, maybe we will post a video of him to YouTube. 🙂
One has to be careful, though. In one video, the young woman says she threw away her transfer board because it is impractical and “doesn’t fit in her purse.” John decided he needed to speed up his depression transfer skills. He is doing great most of the time, but when his arms get tired his depression transfers become much more difficult. Possibly he needs a bigger purse until his arms are consistently stronger?
If you have no idea what a transfer board or a depression transfer is, I suggest you google it…As we learned early on, a spinal cord injury results in an entirely new vocabulary.
Progress was also made in John’s search for a hand bike. We spent an hour or two at Walts discussing details on John’s first hand bike. Of course, he wants electronic shifting, so the new bike will need some immediate retrofitting. We hope to get all this worked out and order the bike soon. I’ll keep you all posted.
Speaking of bikes, we stopped by the local NuMotion office and met the benefactor of John’s loaner handbike, Marie. John is so thankful to have it, and Marie is glad he is using it.
Even though this weekend wasn’t anywhere near as warm and beautiful as last weekend, in fact it was downright wintery, John bundled up and took the bike out yesterday. He did his longest ride yet — 7 miles! and it was only 29F!
It is snowing now, and the forecast is for calling for up to 9 inches of snow. 🙁 Keep your fingers crossed for a quick melt off this week!
February 9, 2015
Sunday February 8, 2015
We have had 2 fabulous weather days with temps in the 60s — great for riding and John has been out on the hand cycle both days. We are so thankful to Walt Gerard for arranging the handcycle loan, and to Marie, the owner of the hand cycle. Saturday we rode neighborhoods and the trail around the Audubon Nature Sanctuary. John’s arms were a little tired today so we stayed on the flat trail close to home. I’ve added several photos to the “John Rides” photo album.
Today, John attended his first MU Women’s basketball game of the season. John has been a loyal fan and season ticket holder for the past 5 years. Not only did our women beat Auburn, but after the game they all came over to welcome John back with a hug and kind words. Thanks to Charlie Nemmers taking John to the game.
We are looking forward to another busy week and hoping for more mild weather.
With love to all. Patti
February 6, 2015
Feb 5, 2015
John and I just returned from a quick trip to Tucson, visiting my father, who is ill. Hence, a trip on short notice. Tucson was fabulous as this is the perfect time of year to be there. Beautiful weather and in addition to visiting my father we were able to spend time with friends. We also saw many hand cyclists on the Rillito River trail! Although John wasn’t riding this trip, it was so good to see hand cyclists along with all the other cycling, walking and running trail users.
Although it is cold here tonight, the weekend is supposed to be warm and John is looking forward to getting back out on his (loaner) bike. Now that we are getting settled, we are starting to do some bike shopping.
We would like to thank everyone who has donated to HelpHOPELive in John’s honor. John has mailed thank you notes to everyone who provided their name. Here is a huge thank you to the anonymous donors!
We understand several people, in different parts of the country, are considering fund raisers for John. We are so thankful for all your efforts and want you to know that HelpHOPELive provides complete fund raising assistance. If you are considering a fund raiser or would like to do something but are not sure what or how to get started, please contact Amy Rubinoff at HelpHOPELive ([email protected]).
In addition to handcycles (e.g., commuting, road cycling/racing) we also plan to purchase an FES bike for John. Check this out: www.restorative-therapies.com
John used an FES bike at least twice per week during his rehabilitation at Shepherd Center and it provides amazing benefits. The FES bike costs $17,000 but our insurance company has just denied funding this bike for John. The benefits of the FES bike include reduced muscle atrophy, increased circulation and cardiovascular benefits, and decreased muscle spasms to name a few.
I have added a photo of John on the Rillito River trail in Tucson to the “John Rides…” photo album.
January 29, 2015
Wednesday 28 January
It has taken me a few days to recover from our last exciting event — We threw a birthday party for our good friend Jim Elliott. Jim provided so much support for John and I all last fall, in many ways. The most notable, and the reason many of you know him, is that Jim kept friends and family updated on John’s progress all fall. We are so thankful for his love and friendship and had a great birthday celebration with him last Saturday (January 24). Happy Birthday Jim!
Today was a most NOTABLE day in Mid- MO. 60F degrees in January. A beautiful, sunny day — and one John would never miss riding a few miles to enjoy. Fortunately, he has a loaner hand cycle and was able to take it out for the first time today. It was fabulous! He rode 4.5 miles from our home to the MKT feeder trail at Twin Lakes. He was so happy to be able to enjoy this weather on a bike.
Photos posted in the Special moments and John Rides albums…
January 24, 2015
Friday 23 January
Now that we are getting settled and the temperatures rose to the mid-50s last weekend and early in the week we decided it was time to get serious about finding a bike for John. He wants to be able to take advantage of these occasional beautiful, warm, sunny, mid-winter days and start to build his strength and endurance. To this end, our friends at Walt’s Bike shop arranged for us to meet
Walt Gerard, the man who started Walts when he was a teenager. He sold the shop long ago, but is still in town and will be an important resource for us. As it turns out, Walt worked for many years for Rusk Rehabilitation hospital here, and then for NuMotion, a medical equipment company (and the company that will supply John’s wheelchair). He is incredibly knowledgable about all aspects of disability and adaptive equipment.
So, we met Walt and he brought a hand bike with him. The bike belongs to one of Walts colleagues at NuMotion and as it turns out, she offered to loan it to John until spring. So, John HAS A BIKE! The bike is more of a recreational bike than the ones he rode in Atlanta, but Walt thought this style might be a better “starter” bike. Advantages are that John can easily get on the bike. It also has wider tires which will be more compatible with riding on the trail, which is where John is planning to start riding. So, this bike will allow him to build strength and confidence as he takes a bit more time to decide on an purchase his first hand bike. We are so grateful to Walt and Marie (her bike), and Sarah and Mark at Walt’s for getting us all together.
Today was notable as it was John’s first day back at MU. The College of Engineering hosted a fabulous welcome back reception for him, attended by so many! (hundreds) of students, faculty, and colleagues. John was so happy to see so many familiar faces and is so looking forward to getting back in the swing of things at work. Special thanks to all who made this reception happen.
I’ve posted some photos of John riding and the reception.
Stay tuned, another exciting event happening tomorrow!
January 19, 2015
A few photos from today posted in the “Special Moments” Album…
January 19, 2015
Sunday January 18, 2015
Another busy week here. John is getting settled into the routine of PT and OT twice a week. We have enjoyed catching up with some friends who have come by and want to thank everyone who has brought dinner since our return to Columbia. Even though I have a fully functioning kitchen now (2 actually!), we have enjoyed the meals friends have prepared for us. The past several days John has had a craving for a burger. Thank goodness for our good friend Jim Elliott who took John out for a burger last night!
Thanks to all our friends and neighbors who stopped by our S. Garth residence today to welcome us home. It was a lovely, sunny day with temps near 60F! John spent most of the time on the deck, basking in the sun and telling stories. We sure enjoyed seeing everyone.
MU classes start on Tuesday and John is looking forward to getting back to work. He has been advised to ease back into work — those of you who know John know it is not in his nature to “ease” into anything! This is a difficult prescription, but so very important for his continued rehab and physical improvement. This spring, John will be responsible for the graduate geotech seminar, something he has done for the past 18 years. These seminars are scheduled for Friday afternoon at 3p. The first “seminar” will be a welcome back reception for John. Nothing like starting the semester with a party! He is looking forward to seeing all his colleagues there.
We have a busy week ahead — every afternoon is booked. Good thing we have tomorrow “off” to rest up!
Until next time…
January 14, 2015
Tuesday, 13 January 2015
Thanks to our good friends who made it possible. We had a smooth, well orchestrated move on Saturday, 9 January. We lucked out with a beautiful sunny day, temps in the 30s! One huge U-Haul and 6-8 strong men and we got it done. Although I didn’t have time to pack all our belongings (kitchen, clothing) we did get the key pieces of large furniture moved. The rest will be moved slowly over the next few weeks.
We will be using our 407 S Garth Street address until we make a decision on permanent residency. We are exploring options for modifying our house, or selling. Fortunately, we have this very comfortable and accessible rental for at least 6 months, so have time to make this important decision.
John is going to PT and OT twice a week now and looking forward to getting back to work when MU classes start next week. I have taken FML from my MU faculty position until April, so I can help John as he continues to gain strength and returns to work.
We are both looking forward to the forecast warming trend, temps in the 50s predicted for this weekend!
Thanks to everyone for your love and support!
January 10, 2015
Friday, January 9, 2015
A busy week indeed, but all good news!
John thought his significant vision changes were a result of his accident but learned at the eye doctor Monday that the new right lens that they sent to us in Charlottesville was rotated 7 degrees off center when it was inserted — a simple rotation here solved the problem!
Tuesday John saw his favorite upper extremity orthopedic MD, Todd Oliver and learned that his left collarbone fracture is healing! This is excellent news and means that John will not have to have additional surgery on that collarbone. I have to say that Dr. Oliver has been extremely helpful to me on several occasions since John’s accident. It was great to see him in person and especially to receive such good news.
The other big news for us is that our rental is ready for occupancy ahead of schedule. We have a small crew of close friends who will help us move the big, heavy furniture tomorrow. Given the short timeframe and all our other obligations this week, we anticipate moving the rest of the small stuff over the next few weeks. It will be SO GOOD to get settled in this new location. We did see the home for the first time on Monday and it looks like it will be perfect — so easy for John to navigate and get around. As soon as we are a bit more settled I will post some photos.
I hope everyone is staying warm, it’s been bitter cold here. Fortunately, suppose to be a balmy 34F and sunny tomorrow — great news for us and our moving help!
January 5, 2015
Monday Jan 5
Or, as John says, “Day 5 of Freedom!”
We are looking forward to a busy week as John begins his outpatient PT and OT here. We will also be investigating fitness centers, looking for one John can attend to continue his strengthening work. Unfortunately, aside from car transfers, he will likely be spending most of his time indoors as the temps won’t rise much above 20F for the next few days.
I forgot to mention, we are now using our home address for all mail. For those who don’t have it, it is:
407 S Garth Ave
Columbia, MO 65203
More coming soon!
January 3, 2015
Jan 3, 2015
Homecoming! Day 2
We made it back to Columbia late on Jan 1. A very long day, but smooth travels the entire way (after our initial flight cancelation and re-booking). In fact, as we sat in the American Airlines Club in Chicago — a place we have been hundreds of times, we both remarked how normal it felt. 🙂 Then, upon our arrival to Columbia, to see so many of our good friends waiting to greet us. Wow! John said it was the best homecoming ever and acknowledged later that “home” is much more about the people — friends and loved ones — than the physical location. We were fortunate that the weather warmed up for our arrival, too.
We are so thankful to be back and both feel so well prepared by the expert staff at the Shepherd Center for independence and the challenges we will face as we learn our way around and re-integrate to our community.
Many folks have asked about our home and what our plans are. Our wonderful, warm 100 year old house is not well suited for wheelchair mobility. Consequently, we have arranged to lease an accessible condominium for a few months. This provides time for us to make decisions about a more permanent solution. Unfortunately, the condo is not quite ready for occupancy, so we are camping out in a hotel for 10-14 days. This is a nice addition to our return home adventure and is providing lots of opportunities to develop and practice innovative strategies for tackling all sorts of mobility challenges. I am sure our condo will be ready right about the time we have our system here figured out!
So, we spent yesterday, our first day back, addressing some challenges and then I made my first big attempt to make our hotel room organized and livable for the next couple weeks. Some good friends took John for dinner while I scurried around, trying to anticipate what we might need next at the hotel and making sure we have that.
Now, I am headed out for some fresh air, before the rain starts again and the temperature drops. Spending the fall in Atlanta has made this sudden immersion into Missouri winter particularly harsh. I’m not yet looking forward to the single digit temps predicted for next week!
Thanks to all for your guest book posts! We love hearing from everyone.
Love, from our home in the midwest! We are so glad to be here.
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2014
Happy New Year!
Our last day in Atlanta. John had a full 3 days of therapy scheduled this week. Despite being a bit under the weather yesterday and this morning, he passed his driving tests with flying colors! Be sure to check out the photos. He had to do the driving portion in an old Crown Victoria — do you know how BIG those cars are???
We are scheduled to return to Columbia tomorrow. One of my favorite people shared some excellent advice with me a few years ago. She said when she started graduate school her advisor said the key to success in graduate school was to have a plan, then prepare to abandon it! I have taken this advice to heart and it is a good thing. Our well planned return has now been abandoned — once I learned our flights for tomorrow were cancelled. We have re-booked, but will arrive much later and to much less fanfare than originally planned. Another good lesson in flexibility.
I will post again once we are back in MO. In the meantime, wishing you all a safe and happy new year!
December 30, 2014
December 29, 2014
A lovely and relaxing weekend here, great for resting up for this busy 3 days and then the trip back to MO!
Saturday John tested his endurance with a “long push.” We went to a lovely recreation trail that runs along a creek behind the Shepherd Center. It was a sunny, warm day and many families were enjoying the trail, lots of children trying out their Christmas wheels! John didn’t break any land speed records, but it is so good to be outside.
Sunday we enjoyed dinner at the home of a former Shepherd patient — a man who suffered a spinal cord “stroke” just over a year ago. He and his wife shared some of the challenges and joys they have experienced in the past year, as well as modifications they have made to their house and yard. It was a lovely evening.
Today, John had another full day of therapy which included practicing transferring to a car, taking his wheelchair apart and putting it in the car, then taking it out, putting it together and transferring back to the chair — these are skills required in order to participate in the driving evaluation and they are no small feat!
Still working on the youtube videos. In the meantime, I have posted some more photos on this site…
December 27, 2014
December 27, 2014
We hope everyone had a lovely, peaceful Christmas, celebrating in the tradition you and your family embrace.
It was a beautiful day in Atlanta and after 4-5 days of cloudy, rainy weather, the brilliant sun and 50F temps were a welcome change. John and I spent several hours outside enjoying the sunshine before spending the afternoon and early evening at the home of John’s doctor here, Anna Elmers. Dr Elmers is an amazing, kind, generous person who makes a personal connection with her patients. We are so fortunate John was assigned to her team when he was admitted to Shepherd. Although he is not officially her patient any more, now that he has moved to the Day Program, she has continued to extend kindness to John and me when we she her. She and her husband prepared a wonderful Christmas dinner that she shared with 4 patients and their family. A notable feat given that the Elmers have 3 high energy little girls, ages 2, 4, and 6 years! It was a lovely day.
Although the Shepherd therapists did take Christmas off, and therefore John got the day off, too, the day after Christmas it was business as usual! A full day of therapy ending with a group session on “wheelchair skills.” This is where he learns some important tricks he needs to navigate the less “accessible” world out there, like popping wheelies so he can get over curbs. He has also learned how to protect himself when his chair tips over and how to right himself afterwards. I’m hoping this is a skill he won’t have to use!
I have a number of short videos of John in action that I would like to share. Unfortunately, I cannot upload videos to this site, so I am creating accounts necessary and trying to learn how to use youTube. Ha! It is taking me a little longer than I had hoped but stay tuned. I’ll share the info on how to view videos as soon as I have them available.
Thank you to all who have provided continued support and encouragement. It means so much to John and me to receive this outpouring of love and kindness.
December 24, 2014
December 24, 2014
Merry Christmas eve!
Big day here, lots of fun stunts and testing / using innovative equipment. Be sure to check the photo albums for the latest updates!
John started out the morning cruising around in the standing wheel chair. He was able to make his way around the therapy kitchen, and get things out of the back of the top shelf in the fridge. He also used it to stand at a computer and simulate giving a lecture, while standing. He said being able to look people in the eye is HUGE…I am going to try to post a couple short videos on this site, not sure they will work.
This afternoon, John got in a kayak in the pool after paddling around a bit he was planning to practice casting a fly rod. But, he took too tight a turn and dumped the kayak! Scared the heck out of me! Rather than practice fly casting, he spent the last 1/2 of his session swimming.
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Love, Patti and John
December 22, 2014
December 22, 2014
Welcome to John’s HelpHOPELive site. This is Patti and I will be using this site to provide updates on his progress and our activities. I’ll also post photos. I’m just learning how to use this site, so please bear with me. 🙂
We had a great weekend. Our good friend Jim Elliott came to Atlanta for a brief visit and we spent 5 hours at the Atlanta Aquarium on Saturday. Watching the fish, rays, sharks etc swim in the huge ocean exhibit had a tranquilizing effect on us all.
Sunday was our 23rd wedding anniversary — John and I had a lovely dinner at Veni Vidi Vici, an Italian restaurant here. I can’t tell you how many times I told John how happy I was to be celebrating our anniversary together this year!
Thanks to everyone for the love and support you have shown us these past 3 months. Keep checking this site for frequent updates!
Photo Galleries (3)
December 15, 2016
Did John receive a service dog? I saw the photos with the yellow lab. Sending a big hug from all of us in South Carolina and lots of love. Barbara and family
Barbara Tarka Leonard
July 27, 2016
What wonderful updates! Nice to see you here..
May 30, 2016
Dear John, This news was quite a surprise! From the timeline it appears that your accident occurred shortly after you wished me a Happy Birhtday in Dec., of 2014. Bless you on this journey - I will be following your updates. Please let me know when you are traveling to York - I would love to see both you and Patti. I hope you are having a wonderful time in Italy. Love to you both, Lisa
March 13, 2016
Is this about time for celebrating a birthday, an amazing birthday? Zhu ni shengri kuaile!
September 22, 2015
Hello to you both, John and Patti! It's great to read about your progress and goings-on! Glad the car is working out well. Enjoy your trip to the races!
July 7, 2015
Dr Bowders u r always in my heart And I always pray for you. Thanks for being so nice teacher for me. Love ur positive attitude towards life.
June 16, 2015
Italy photos are fantastic! You two are amazing. Thank you for sharing.
June 1, 2015
Patti and John's combined willpower is utterly amazing--Italy, watch out!
May 28, 2015
Hi John, and Patti, Seeing you the other day for the first time was overwhelming. However, your smiles, strength, and positive attitude is truly an inspiration and lesson for all of us! I am grateful Patti shared this site with me..I can follow your amazing path, and send a donation. I sincerely hope your trip went well and you enjoy the visit. Any assistance you ever need, Please let me know. Warmest Regards, Hilde Abrams
May 5, 2015
I just found out about your accident from the Heartbeat article. Sorry I missed your fundraiser. You know the engineer in me wants to take apart - aehh "look at" - your new bike one of these days. Perhaps I see you on the trail some time. (I'll bring the wrenches). Keep up the good spirits.
May 1, 2015
David and I have been thinking of you two and wondered how the ride went this past week-end. Glad to hear it was a beautiful day and beautiful ride. We really enjoyed looking at the photos.
Linda and David
April 30, 2015
The photos from the ride are great! So happy the ride was a success and that John is enjoying his new bike. We were there in spirit! Take care dear friend.
Scott and Betsy
April 23, 2015
Hi John & Patti, Just clicked on the link about your ride that was shared by a CoMo cycling buddy. Not at all surprised at those fancy wheels you are riding these days. Just what I'd expect after all the miles you've put in. I live in Boulder, CO now so I sent a donation in lieu of registration & will be there riding for you in spirit. wishing you guys the best
Kristen (Chaffin) Palmer
April 23, 2015
Hi John, I'll be there this weekend. Wouldn't miss it.
April 19, 2015
Keep that fantastic smile John. You and Patti are an inspiration to me. A letter is coming this week.
April 18, 2015
Hi John, So fun talking to you. A great catch up and phone visit. Cheers Neal
March 20, 2015
Hi John - I just heard the news and was directed to this site. While I was very sad initially, I could not get over seeing your smile first thing on this page! Well done John - you are showing the world how to overcome adversity....I hope we can find a means to catch up sometime soon. Keep smiling! Jim Kleppe
March 20, 2015
Belated Happy Birthday John! Sorry I haven't been in touch. The last email got me to this page which is wonderful. I miss your wonderful wife but am so glad you are home and doing well. Think of you often. George is trying to get me back on the bike by enticing me to do a ride associated with a beer festival. It just may work!
March 17, 2015
Zhu ni shengri kuaile! Happy, happy birthday! Glad you got to celebrate with a bike ride!
Hugs, from Marty Patton
March 10, 2015
Dr. Bowders, Long time no see. I watched every single photo posted here. You always have those sunshine smiles on your face. Those undeniable sunshine smiles make me smile, and brought back good memories of being your student. You are a fantastic teacher! You are also a true fighter! Big inspiration to me and my family. Looking forward to seeing more new photos.
Jianhua Li, Jingwen Guo & Justin
March 4, 2015
Hello old friend! Although this would not have been my choice of first contact in "thirtysomething" years, I'm happy to feel such positive inspiration on this journey of recovery. To say the two of you are remarkable is an understatement! It's amazing how true love can get you through some of life's toughest storms. Sending you both warm thoughts, prayers and nice tight hugs. ❌⭕️❌⭕️
Valerie Burnett Wilson
February 24, 2015
You are an incredible inspiration, John. You as well, Patti. I love you both and will continue to watch John's progress. Great to see that smile's still intact!
Maria K. Benning
February 19, 2015
Fantastic news about the bike! Love to you both, Christine (Lucas)
February 12, 2015
Your news was so shocking. When I was in the MU, You really gave me a hug and my family with a warm heart. I can not forget your love. You endured well a great pain. You will be sure rehabilitation, God loves you. I want to see you and patti. I wish you that you recover quickly.
Yongchai, Chang from South Korea
February 7, 2015
John, It was so nice to receive a thank you card from you today. Love, Carol & Joe
February 3, 2015
Love the photos! Keep them coming. So good to see you back in your own home!
January 31, 2015
Enjoyed the college reception pictures. No one ever looks better than Sponge Bob; but Dr. Bowders does! it must be the "teeth." Keep up the good work and hope to see you in San Antonio. Love; Mo and Rhonda
Mo and Rhonda Gabr
January 23, 2015
Thanks so much for the updates. I think of you both often. That you are both moving forward is a wonderful and encouraging model for me. Love to you both
January 23, 2015
Glad you are settled into your digs and that school starts soon. It will be so great to get back to your students. Take care dear friend.
Betsy and Scott
January 20, 2015
Dr. Bowders, You are one of my best teachers. I am putting into use all the courses you taught and the knowledge you shared. I really admire your positive outlook on life. You are a true inspiration
January 19, 2015
So glad you are back home! The girls are I are settled in Ireland. David comes for a visit this weekend. He obtained an international cycling license. Hopefully, he'll get to use it!
Andrea W and David E
January 16, 2015
Glad you guys got moved. I am guessing that those "6-8 strong men" were not cycling friends! John, I hope getting back to class is working out well.
January 13, 2015
Jogn I surely admire your positive attitude. You are an inspiration to us all. Good luck Bill marcuson
January 4, 2015
We only heard about your accident yesterday, John. So good to see your smiling face. As your very close neighbors we hope to see you soon. Love and hugs to you.
Laura and Marvin Wells
January 3, 2015
Love to our awesome neighbors.
January 3, 2015
John and Patti: Your unfailing good morale and supreme grace under pressure are awe inspiring to all of us. Jo and I look forward to a ride on the trail to Cooper's Landing with the both of you and our friends. The refreshments will be on us. Bonne année et bonne chance!
Dale Brigham and Jo Turner
January 3, 2015
Dr. Bowders, I am so glad to see you smiling. We look forward to see you back at home in CoMo.
Sajid Iqbal (MU Geotech)
January 2, 2015
Hi John and Patti! Just wanted to say Hi and share how happy I am to see such wonderful progress and return home. Dea has made sure I get your updates so they are very much appreciated!
Kristi Wilkins (CNS-STBICU UVA)
January 2, 2015
January 2, 2015
Dear Dr Bowders, So happy to see you smiling bright in your photo albums. Keep it up.
January 2, 2015
It was wonderful to welcome you home last evening. A New Year, new plan, but clearly you will squeeze every ounce of joy out of your new lives. So much love extended to you. We are grateful you are home. Now, may your missing bag arrive today without incident!
December 31, 2014
John, sorry I have not been keeping up with you since I left Engineering and did not know. Oh, gosh! John, you have been my inspiration over the years. I decided to retire December 17 and plan to devote more time to exercise and getting in shape. Keep me posted buddy. You are one awesome guy.
December 31, 2014
Thank you for posting the news and the pictures. Your smiling faces brighten the day! Love, Cindy
December 31, 2014
Dear Dr. Bowders, It is great to see your smile! It has been a year since I graduated from MU, I miss you very much. Seeing you getting better everyday is very inspiring. I hope I can see you again sometime in the future. I wish you a very happy new year and a great 2015!
December 30, 2014
Patti, thinking about you both
December 29, 2014
Hello to you both, It was a wonderful to get an update from you Patti. Most especially, it' a joy to see John active and ready to go! I hope the best for you both in 2015, Christine (Lucas)
December 28, 2014
John and Patti, we are so looking forward to your return to Columbia. We continue to cheer on your amazing progress. With love and prayers for more miracles.
Melinda & Dan Hemmelgarn
December 26, 2014
Dear Dr. Bowders & Patti, There hasn't been a day since the accident that we haven't thought of you. We are very happy to see your progress. We miss you both and can't wait to see you back! God Bless!
Daniel & Sara
December 26, 2014
It is great to see you on a Bike John. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas. Keep up the good work and I hope to see to see in person soon.
Mo and Rhonda
December 25, 2014
Dr Bowders, I am so happy you are planning to come back to Columbia.Cant wait to see you and your beautiful smile in person. I salute your positive attitude. I need to learn many more lessons of life from you.Wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy new year. I pray to God for you. Tasneem Khan
December 24, 2014
All of us have been ceaselessly rooting for you, John! Both you and Patti have always embodied everything that is wonderful about cycling to me, and continue to do so. Sending love from Columbia.
Seth, Kelly, Lucy and Lillian Smith
December 24, 2014
Looking forward to you coming home. Everyone on the street misses you.
John and Naomi
December 23, 2014
LOVE this photo of john on the handcycle!! So happy to help make this a reality. And, more than that, so happy that John is still on this Earth with that infectious smile, spreading his love of people and his love of cycling wherever he goes. :)
December 23, 2014
It’s very wonderful to see your smiling face again on the photos (we all miss your smile and a positive attitude towards life). Many thanks for Dr. Loehr’s sending your updates and progresses through emails and keeping us posted. You and Patti have been in my family’s thoughts all the time. You did not just teach in the classrooms but you are also a huge inspiration of becoming a life fighter. Nothing can keep you away cycling. Cheers for the life. Merry Christmas and embody the Christmas spirit to the people around us.
Cheng-Wei (Joseph), Pei-Ling and Johnnie
December 23, 2014
All the best to you John!
December 23, 2014
We are rooting for you John! Keep getting well. You two are in our prayers.
Knute and Rosemary
December 23, 2014
I'm glad there is a way to keep you on the road, John! You've been in my prayers daily since I heard of the accident. I'm praying that God will restore what the enemy has stolen from you. God bless you & Patti during this test of your faith. Merry Christmas!
December 23, 2014
Andrea has been keeping me posted of your progress, and you and Patti have certainly been in my thoughts over the past 3 months. It is great to see your smiling face again (even if just in photos) after all these years. I look forward to future updates through this site and wish you both a Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015.
Melissa Logan Gillespie
December 23, 2014
Thanks for setting this site up! Interestingly, this organization is located just down the street from me (same zip code, even!). Stay positive and keep working hard.
Love, Andrea, David, Elizabeth, and Ava
December 23, 2014
keep up the good work. Enjoy Christmas with Patti and here's to a more promising new year
Ken and Kathy Zigler
December 23, 2014
Dear John and Patti, We are thinking of you and are so delighted for your progress. Looking forward to seeing that smile in person soon!
Joan Elliott, Beth Elliott and Curt Stegemn
December 23, 2014
Dear John, We love you. Your bravery and strength are an inspiration.
December 23, 2014
John, Seeing your trademark smile and eternal cheerfulness in these photos is the best Christmas present ever. You are an inspiration for all who know you and many that don't. We miss you but are so glad that you are recovering so well.
December 23, 2014
Dr John, I hope that you Get Well Soon. Really I miss you so much. I miss this nice smile. I miss this great heart. I miss the strong and warm handshake. I miss this word "mahmoud" from your mouth. Really, I miss you. But some times Sir, when we have to stay a little bit away from others, from work and from this busy world, It can be a great chance for meditation and rethinking in many issues in our lives. So sure we will see you again soon.
December 22, 2014
John, I remember being outrun by marathoners using their arms instead of their legs . . . they were truly inspirational. You are inspirational. Sending you and Patti waves of good holiday wishes!
December 18, 2014
We are so inspired by how you have tackled your recovery, in the same way you have approached so many things in your life. We look forward to seeing and hearing about your future cycling adventures. We love you, dear friend. Recumbents Rule!
Scott & Betsy Brittle
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Note in memo:
In honor of John Bowders
Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087