We Salute Amputees Across America

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Riders assemble for a group shot at Rockefeller Center. From left: Linda Holt, Kip Peavy, Andrew Johnson, Joe Sapere, James Thayer, and Richard Hudon.
Riders assemble for a group shot at Rockefeller Center. From left: Linda Holt, Kip Peavy, Andrew Johnson, Joe Sapere, James Thayer, and Richard Hudon.

At 3:00 AM EDT, on August 6, five amputees rode their bicycles into Rockefeller Center, New York, completing a 66-day bicycle journey of 4,700 miles that began at the Presidio, San Francisco and crossed the United States, stopping at 24 HealthSouth Rehabilitation and Shriners hospitals. 

Altogether 17 riders participated in the ride and ten skydives were made en route to commemorate the patients that were met along the way. The traveling team of amputees talked to over 5,000 people during their visitations, and their message of hope and inspiration reached an estimated television audience of over 20 million people. 

Riders see light at the end of the tunnel...
Riders see light at the end of the tunnel...

Thanks to the sponsorships of Ohio Willow Wood and HealthSouth, the initiative was successful far beyond any expectations of performing a mission to increase amputee awareness and to show those in rehab that ordinary people can overcome adversity and go on to live active lives.

COMMENTS FROM RIDERS AND THOSE THEY TOUCHED...

From: Gloria and Chris Rhoades, (mother and junior ambassador of AAA'04)  June 16, 2004
We so enjoyed our time with you. Thanks for the great experience. We sure do miss you all very much. When we were flying home, Chris leaned over and said, "Mom, those were the best days of my life." They were some of the best days of mine too. You are all a part of our family now. Blue skies!

Riders approach final destination.
Riders approach final destination.

From: FR James Fitzwater   June 25, 2004
Tis a Joyful Journey. Bringing hope and encouragement to so many in need. Those who make this journey will grow strong in their spirit. Adienhuk.

From: Peggy Wagner July 26, 2004
When you stopped in Rockford, Illinois, you called my cousin Anne who was facing the terrible decision of continuing surgeries to save her leg or amputation. Talking to you helped inspire her to a new level of courage. I believe that you helped save her life. Bone infection in the leg was persistent and may have taken her from us at any time. After talking to you, she was able to see a positive future again, and she is currently recovering from her below-knee amputation. Thank you for your willingness to reach out to others and raise awareness for a great cause. You really made a difference in Anne's life.

The traditional celebration in the waters of the East Coast!
The traditional celebration in the waters of the East Coast!

From: Anne July 30, 2004
I wish all the riders of AAA '04 the very best as you near the finish line of the very long, monumental ride. The inspiration you give along the way is outstanding. Linda, your call to me on July 3 gave me the courage to have my surgery on July 13. I am at home and doing well and ready to get back to my life just as you did. Thank you again for taking the time to call. You will never know how much it helped.