For Mike Campbell, Craig Hospital’s Pedal 4 Possible event is more than an organized bike ride for a good cause: it’s a celebration of life in its new form.
“Before my accident, my life was all about hiking or bicycling or motorcycling,” he says. “Riding in Pedal gave me one of those loves back. It was emotionally important for me to regain that ability.”
On March 26, 2016, Campbell was on a Sunday afternoon motorcycle ride in sunny southern California. He was idling at a stop sign when he was presumably rear-ended by a hit-and-run driver. Another motorist came upon him lying in the road, paralyzed and with a brain injury. He has no memory from three weeks prior to a week after the accident.
As he recovered in the intensive care unit, his family began researching rehabilitation facilities. A nurse mentioned Craig. “Because it’s such an odd name for a hospital, it didn’t register with us at first,” says Mike. “But then my daughter remembered it, made a call, and a Craig representative was in my room that same day.”
Within 48 hours of his admittance to Craig, Mike was working hard. At first, he could only move his big toe and was navigating with a sip-and-puff wheelchair. Because his injury was “incomplete,” his spinal cord was able to still convey messages to and from the brain. Mike was able to regain sensation and function quickly.
“I remember rolling up to the elevator and being frustrated that I had to wait to have someone else show up to push the buttons,’ he says. “I also remember the joy I felt when I was able to finally reach my hand up to push the button myself—each little step was a huge win.”
Mike quickly made friends with other inpatients. After seeing one patient taking turns on a handcycle, he decided that he wanted to try it out. “As soon as I was medically cleared, I went down to the Therapeutic Recreation department,” he says.
Recreation Therapist Kimberly Strat started Mike on a recumbent bike. “We initially used it for strengthening and to complement the work he was doing with his physical therapist,” she says. “I remember him wanting to work so hard and never giving up hope for his recovery.”
Before his injury, Mike had logged thousands of miles on his mountain bike. “In my new state, it was exciting to be able to do it again,” he says. “It gave me a sense that I could have a new life that could still have a little bit of normal reality to it.”
Even after he discharged from inpatient care, Mike would go for bike rides with Kimberly whenever possible. She encouraged him to ride in the 2016 Pedal 4 Possible, a fundraiser for Craig programs like Therapeutic Recreation. Riders of all abilities, including current and former patients, come together on the course.
“I remember the feeling of excitement that so many former patients showed up to ride, and it was exciting to meet other people who had been through this type of injury before me,” he says.
Mike left Craig after eight months of intensive therapy. He retired from his dental practice, and enjoys traveling and being active with his family. He now only uses crutches when he’s out in public, and his wheelchair only makes an appearance when he’s in an airport or needs to travel long distances.
He has timed his annual evaluation at Craig so that he can participate in the 2019 Pedal 4 Possible on September 14.
“If you’re injured or even if you just know an injured person, it’s an amazingly uplifting function to come to,” he says. “It’s amazing how happy and excited injured people can be to just be alive.”
The fifth annual Pedal 4 Possible will take place on Saturday, September 14. Riders enjoy views of the Flatirons along the 10K, 30K, 50K, 100K, and 100M courses, which starts and ends at the PEARL iZUMi Headquarters in Louisville, Colorado. Cyclists of all levels and abilities, including handcyclists, are welcome.
Individual rider registration is $80 which includes a custom water bottle, a fully-supported ride, course aid stations, and post-party with food and drink. Riders are encouraged to raise $300 or more for Craig, and those who meet the challenge will receive a custom-designed P4P 2019 jersey.
For those who can’t make it or prefer to sleep in, a $50 virtual rider registration is available. Virtual riders are also encouraged to raise $300 for Craig and will qualify for incentive gifts.
The 2018 event raised nearly $186,000 to support Craig.
Learn more or register to ride or volunteer at Pedal4Possible.org.