Amputees cycle cross country, stop in Tyler

By Sara Story - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It's a coast to coast ride by an inspirational group of bike riders. Five amputees are trekking from California to Florida, and on their 3,500 mile ride, they made a stop at Trinity Mother Frances Rehabilitation Hospital in Tyler on Monday.

The Amputees Across America team rolled into East Texas and were greeted by a supportive cheer.

"I didn't even know if I could ride a bicycle again, and here I am, riding across the country," said John Cool, one of the five riders who embarked on this journey.

Cool lost his right leg following a tragic motorcycle accident, "I had my leg for 38 years, and all the sudden, I woke up and my leg was no longer there. So, you have the anger issues. You have the questions, 'What am I going to do with the rest of my life?'"

Cool joined Amputees Across America, hoping to encourage others who face similar adversity. In less than two months, the group will ride across the country, stopping at rehabilitation centers along the way. "The visits with the hospital are emotionally draining because I take a little bit of each patient with me when I go back to the hotel," said Cool.

Patients like Kevin Powell, who was paralyzed from the waist down after an invasive spine surgery to remove an abscess, inspire the cyclists.

"The God in me rose up. Laying flat on my back and I couldn't even turn over in my bed. At that point, I told him, 'I will walk again,'" said Powell.

Last week, Powell walked 270 feet without resting. He says the cyclists are an inspiration to walk without limitation. "I see people that haven't given up. That don't have pity parties," he said.

The Amputees Across America group will leave Tyler Tuesday morning. They are scheduled to arrive in Florida on July 26, stopping at rehabilitation centers every other day.

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