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Putting a face to “Race Across America”

Friends of mine from OhioCycleWorks Charities are cycling their way across the country to raise money for Akron Children’s Hospital. The event, called “Race Across America,” started in Oceanside, CA, and will end in Annapolis, MD.

The bike team will take turns riding 24 hours a day for about 6 days and cover 3,000 miles. They complete their ride in Annapolis tomorrow morning.

On June 13 – the day the race started – my son, Jake, was scheduled for an anterior and posterior spinal fusion at Akron Children’s Hospital. This surgery was hopefully his final surgery to implant bars in his back to help correct his scoliosis.

The bike team decided to dedicate their race to Jake and another boy, who was also helped by Akron Children’s a couple of years ago when he had a tumor. The riders even made a video for Jake so he could put a “face” on their cause.

Many prayers were answered that day as the surgery went well and my son made an incredible recovery. The best way to explain the results is using the orthopedic surgeon’s description of Jake’s spinal column curvature with a “cupped hand” before and a “mostly straight” hand afterwards.

For us in the numerical industry, Jake’s curvature was greater than a 45 degree angle before and now is less than 20, with some minor improvement to come with time. It still seems like a lot of curvature, but the objective of this surgery was to make sure it didn’t get worse.

He also maintained his nerve connections in his spinal column, which was a risk. Jake’s life is going to be very different now and for that we feel blessed.

As serious as this procedure sounds, it has been performed many times before by the surgeons with very favorable results of increased mobility, enhanced quality of life and reduced future deterioration.  Unbelievably, they expected him on his feet the day after surgery.

Fortunately, he only had to spend one night in the ICU because he was recovering so well, and then he was moved to a regular patient floor, where he stayed for 5 days.

The recovery, however, will take about two months, and will be somewhat painful and include a great deal of rest (and video games and summer math, which was Dad’s bright idea). Jake is expected to be able to start school on time in August.

Jake approached this surgery as he has everything in his short life – with quiet courageousness, a “tough as nails” attitude and leading with his Faith. He has been through a great deal and this is just one last speed bump.

My family and I are very grateful for the prayers we’ve received from the bike team, family members and others. Please keep your prayers coming.

And please support my friends of OhioCycleWorks Charities as they ride across America for Jake and the many other children helped by Akron Children’s Hospital.

The OhioCycleWorks charities team consists of several local members who are actively involved in the community including the team captain Brian Ray (Senior Vice President, PNC Bank), Mike Feichter (Property Claims Adjuster, Allstate Insurance), Shawn Aker (Physical Therapist), Matt Geis (Associate Athletic Director, Kent State University), Brian Zupancic (Territory Manager, Takeda Pharmaceuticals), Scott Garchar (Operations Manager, FedEx Custom Critical), Terry Horner (Entreprenuer) and Jody Demaline (Credit, JP Morgan Chase).


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  1. Thanks for sharing. our daughter ( just turned 10 and has rapidly developed a 37 degree curve, and gets her brace this week. We are praying spinal fusion won’t be needed. our family blog is at http://www.ourlivesong.blogspot.com 

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