Finish the Ride
9:02 PM PST on January 28, 2014
t’s not just a ride, it’s a movement. Be part of the solution.
Finish the Ride is the spirit of courage and determination to overcome tragedy despite apparently insurmountable odds. It’s a movement that will literally be heard around the world. Being part of Finish the Ride means you are taking part in something that will help change the streets of LA. Show others that you are doing something to make safe streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone on the roads of LA.
History of Finish the Ride
A beacon for change across LA, Finish the Ride was born out of horrific tragedy. On Sunday, February 17th, 2013, avid bicyclist for over 25 years and native of Los Angeles, Damian Kevitt and his wife were riding their bikes around the streets of Los Angeles and along the LA River Bike Path. Being environmentally conscious and enjoying nature, they chose to ride to get groceries before heading to Griffith Park to eat lunch and returning home.
Only a few hundred feet from their destination, with his wife riding behind him, Damian was struck by a light colored mini-van. Wearing a helmet, it would have been minor accident but, instead of stopping, the driver sped up to flee the accident. Damian ended up pinned underneath the mini-van as the driver drove onto the 5 Freeway to get away.
Damian desperately banged on the underside of the car, yelling for the driver to stop… but to no avail. Knowing that he had seconds to live or die, Damian managed to free himself and ended up laying in traffic lanes on the freeway. He was badly injured but alive.
Along with scores of broken bones, extensive tissue damage and road burns, the doctors had to amputate his right leg and were doubtful they could salvage his left leg. Damian’s friends and family rallied to his side but, as anyone there will tell you, it was Damian’s courage, spiritual strength and determination to help others that carried him though those darkest days just following the accident.
As word of the accident got out to millions in LA and tens of millions around the world, support from friends, associates and total strangers near and far poured in. While the worst of the trauma was behind him, Damian still had to get through months of surgeries and physical therapy before he could again walk, let alone possibly ride a bike.
It was at this time, laying in his hospital bed and unable to move, Damian vowed to not only finish the ride but to use his accident for the benefit of others and the city of LA.
“The only way I can ever bring closure to what happened to me is by taking the bad that occurred and turning it into something good – not just for one or two others but for my city of LA.” – Damian
And FINISH THE RIDE was born.
Beginning as a simple desire to finish what was started while showing others that anyone can triumph over adversity and reach their goals, Finish the Ride quickly grew into a movement to help make the streets of LA safe and fun for all bicyclists. It was thus a natural partnership with the LA County Bicycle Coalition – the most effective bicycle advocacy group in the greater LA area. Working with the dedicated and knowledgeable staff of LACBC, Finish the Ride continued to grow in scope.
Damian, now out of the hospital, faced injuries and limitations that would permanently sideline most active individuals. Working hard to not only recover but get back to bicycle riding, running, swimming, etc., Damian soon discovered there was a whole community of like-minded athletic individuals who had overcome their own physical challenges. Spearheading the effort to make the disabled more able is Challenged Athletes Foundation. It is Damian’s wish to help other challenged athletes accomplish their goals despite whatever adversity and limitations they might be facing.
About LA County Bicycle Coalition
Founded in 1998, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) works to build a better, more bike-able Los AngelesCounty. LACBC is the only membership-based nonprofit organization working exclusively for the millions of people who ride bikes in Los AngelesCounty. Through advocacy, education and outreach, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition brings together the diverse bicycling community in a united mission to make L.A. County a healthy, safe and fun place to ride bikes.
LACBC engages in a wide variety of policy, advocacy, education, and community building work to make the streets of Los AngelesCounty more bike friendly for all types of cyclists! We engage through our advocacy with the City of Los Angeles’ Bike Plan Implementation, our data collection through our innovative Bike Count program (the only one like it in the world), Spanish language education and light giveaway through our Operation Firefly (aka Operacion Luciernaga), policy work in Glendale, Culver City, South Los Angeles, and Long Beach, amongst other cities, and community building through our 10 regional chapters, Neighborhood Bike Ambassador Program, River Ride and our Sunday Funday monthly member rides.
About Challenged Athletes Foundation
Established in 1997, the Challenged Athletes Foundation recognizes the athletic greatness inherent in all people with physical challenges and supports their athletic endeavors by providing unparalleled sports opportunities that lead to success in sports — and in life. CAF believes participating in sports not only increases challenged athletes’ physical fitness and activity levels, but also enhances their confidence and self-esteem.
Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) has a number of programs to assist those with physical challenges. Their flagship program provides funding grants for equipment (sports wheelchairs, handcycles, mono skis, sports prosthetics, etc.), and resources for training and competition expenses directly to physically challenged individuals.
CAF has the premier sports and fitness program for American military personnel, veterans and first responders with permanent physical disabilities. It provides unparalleled opportunities to pursue active, athletic lifestyles by offering access to funding for equipment and training and competition expenses, Military Medical Center Physical Training (MMCPT) and sports clinics.
Though clinics and mentoring programs, CAF provides post-rehabilitation support to individuals who have suffered a traumatic injury, have a physically impairing disease or were born with a congenital impairment resulting in a physical disability.
CAF provides information, resources and opportunities to people with physical challenges, enabling them to make informed decisions about health, lifestyle and medical choices. CAF also works to raise awareness within the broader community about physically challenged people. Ultimately CAF aims to change perceptions and inspire people with physical challenges to realize and reach for their dreams.
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