My history with Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH) goes way back. At the age of 3, I was diagnosed with Essential thrombocytosis (a crazy rare blood disease) by doctors at PCH. In plain English, this basically meant I had an outrageously high concentration of platelets in my blood, making the chance of my blood clotting and thus death, much higher. So for the past 18 years I have been visiting PCH, taking various medications to help balance my blood platelet level. To date, I haven't had any major issues as a result of the Essential thrombocytosis and for that I am so very grateful.
However, four years ago, back in the beginning of my junior year of high school, a disaster of another nature struck. I was rushed via ambulance to Phoenix Children's Hospital in a grand mal seizure. Doctors quickly induced a coma to stop the seizure and began running tests to figure out what was wrong. I suffered multiple seizures in the hospital and while deep in a coma, no one was sure I'd survive. Thanks to the staff of PCH, I did. In all, I spent ten days in the hospital, nine days of which in the ICU, and the first three in a coma. Eventually, I was diagnosed with viral meningoencephalitis and a blood clot in the back of my brain (aka a stroke). A neuropsychological evaluation revealed impairment of my cognitive and fine motor function. I had serious problems speaking and in the first few weeks after my stay at PCH I could barely string a sentence together.
With the help of speech pathologists at PCH, I worked hard over the next few months in an attempt to regain what my meningoencephalitis had cost me. My speech improved rapidly and my fine motor skills improved. I was able to return to school on a limited basis in the spring after missing the entire fall semester of my junior year. Throughout my senior year I made up for all the lost time by taking ten online classes, on top of attending school. As I wasn't fully recovered, these classes took time and besides baseball all of my time was completely dedicated to school. With three weeks left until graduation, I finished and was able to graduate high school with my class. Thanks to Phoenix Children's Hospital, not only did I manage to graduate high school, I'm now thriving at Northern Arizona University. I rarely notice any lingering cognitive issues anymore and have over a 3.9 GPA as a Biomedical Science student, something in my wildest dreams I never thought possible in the weeks after waking from my coma. The staff of PCH not only saved my life, but got me back on my feet. For that, I feel the deepest gratitude and desire to give back to PCH so more children can find hope as I did. Hope, that they can recover what they've lost and return to their lives, when waking clueless and utterly lost in a hospital bed.
Starting May 15th, my brother Reid and I will begin pedaling our way coast to coast, across the United States in an effort to raise money for Phoenix Children's Hospital. The ride will start on the Virgina Coast and traverse 10 states till we reach the Pacific Ocean, some 4,233 miles of riding later. We will be riding self-supported, carrying all our gear and supplies ourselves. Our ride will takes us up the steep grades of the Appalachians, across the Great Plains, over the Rockies, through the scenic Yellowstone Nation Park, along the Grand Tetons, and finally to Oregon's stretch of the Pacific Ocean. We hope to average about 60 miles of riding per day. At this pace, we expect the entire ride to take roughly two and a half months to complete, bringing us back to Phoenix in early August, in time for Reid to return to high school.
Reid was there the morning I was found in a grand mal seizure, he knows what it's like as well as anyone to feel the pain of the unknown, that he may never see his brother again. I brushed scathingly close to death and lived to tell about it, even though it took me years to be able to articulate the full story. Together, we understand the trauma patients and the families at PCH feel, and we both know our efforts pedaling from coast to coast this summer are for the best of causes. As we slowly traverse our great country this summer, we'll know that with every up and down stroke of our feet, we'll be pedaling with purpose.
Ethan & Reid's Blog
Our goal is to make $10 per mile of riding we'll be doing this summer for PCH ($42,330). Please give what you can!
1 cent per mile = $42.33
2 cents per mile = $86.66
5 cents per mile = $211.65
10 cents per mile = $423.30
25 cents per mile = $1,058.25
50 cents per mile = $2,116.50
$1.00 per mile = $4,233.00
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for supporting this ever so valuable cause.
-Ethan & Reid