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Two Iowa City men raise funds to help put Jason Parker back on a bike

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - ”It felt like somebody knocked my wind out.”

Jason Parker was known for kick-flipping and blasting big air on his bike, but a serious BMX accident 21 years ago broke his neck and left him a quadriplegic .

“I was wanting to get up and I couldn’t get wind and I was like, something’s wrong. I couldn’t and then I realized I can’t move,” he explained.

It took Parker a while to acclimate to his new lifestyle. The North Carolina native moved back home from Iowa City to be closer to family during his recovery.

He rode for the first time since his accident, last year. Parker raised money selling ‘FunFaLife’ t-shirts for an excursion with Catalyst Sports that let him try out an adaptive mountain bike.

“It took me a minute to get it down a little bit, but with the second run through the trail, man, I was on it. We we did about three or four times. It’s like we didn’t want to get off the bike. We just kept kept wanting to ride and ride,” said Parker.

But owning a bike fit for Jason’s needs comes with a hefty price tag of around $16,000. That’s why Steve Baker and Terry French are raising money to get him one.

“The molded seat and adaptive handles, the adaptive feet pedals and such. They’re pretty special bikes, but they’re expensive,” explained Baker.

“He was an old riding friend of mine and I kept in touch on Facebook. After I saw this [video of him on an adaptive bike], I knew I wanted to help him out,” added French.

French owns Sam’s Pizza in Iowa City. Parker was one of his employees. He held an event last month that featured a comedian and silent auction where they were able to raise $3,000 dollars to go towards getting Parker a bike. Baker and French also have a GoFundMe account setup. They say seeing Parker’s reaction while riding the adaptive bike, inspired them to start the fundraiser.

“The smile on his face, the wind in his hair, that’s what made me want to help him raise some money to get his own bike. So he could do it daily or weekly or whenever he could,” said French.

They couldn’t ignore his happiness. In addition, Parker continues to make yearly BMX and skateboarding road trips, as well help others get involved in the two sports. The duo believes he deserves to get back on a bike and be able to ride again.

“That’s what made me think that this guy needs to be out there,” said Baker.

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