Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trio of Amputees Complete Cross-Country Trip; People Who Lose a Limb Can Still Have Active Lives

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trio of Amputees Complete Cross-Country Trip; People Who Lose a Limb Can Still Have Active Lives

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessie-Lynne Kerr, Times-Union staff writer

Three men, each an amputee, rode their bicycles through yesterday's tropical depression-spawned wind and rain and into the Atlantic Ocean, completing a journey that began 57 days earlier in Seattle.

"My God, I can't believe we made it," yelled a jubilant Mark Farrell, 46, as he and his entourage were greeted by a gaggle of seagulls, some surfers, Jacksonville Beach Mayor Bob Marsden and a handful of umbrella-protected spectators.

Farrell, Jim DeLong, 52, and Bruce Hibbett, 51, made the second Amputees Across America bicycle trip to increase public awareness that amputees can have active lives.

Last year, three other amputees made the first cross-country bicycle trip from California to Virginia, a trek about 1,000 miles shorter than this year's 4,500-mile jaunt. The trio rode between 50 and 60 miles each day and traveled the rest of the way in a support van, Hibbett said.

"We wanted to show people that someone can suffer the loss of a limb and still get on with their life," Hibbett said. "We are just three average guys who were able to do this."

Hibbett, a child welfare worker in Jefferson City, Mo., became an amputee in January 2001 following a mountain climbing accident in the Wyoming Grand Teton range. He continues to enjoy the outdoors and continues to climb, hike, jog and cycle.

DeLong has been an amputee the longest of the three, having lost his lower leg in 1971 after stepping on a land mine while serving in the Army in Vietnam. Now retired from his building contracting business and living on a farm in Pedro, Ohio, he loves to ride his motorcycle, ride horses, hunt and go backpacking.

The high points of the trip, DeLong said, were the visits to 16 physical rehabilitation centers across the country.

"We spent a lot of time with the patients," DeLong said, "trying to encourage them that they could continue to lead useful and full lives. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.