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Rob’s Story

Welcome to Rob's CaringBridge site. Please check out the pictures (under resources you will find a link to the most current pictures), journal entries and links for information about Rob.

We read the guestbook entries to him regularly so feel free to leave him any words of encouragement you'd like to share.

On Monday, June 23, 2008, Rob was in a car accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury. He was in a coma for five weeks at three different hospitals and came home after six months.

Rob suffered diffused axonal injury and is in a wheelchair. Currently, (2012) his torso is not strong enough to balance him and allow him to sit, or stand, without assistance. He is in therapies to help him be more independent.

Rob usually has two therapies each day. In addition to, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, swim therapy, myofascial therapy, and voice lessons, Rob bikes regularly in a special tandem that his dad, Dave, designed and built for him.

Dave is a mechanical engineer who works in the medical device industry. Amy, Rob's mom, and Becky, Rob's sister, are teachers at Union Middle School. Rob's brother, Rick, works for Blackhawk in the Bay Area.

Latest Journal Update

Cycling Updates

As most of you know, we cycle a lot since Dave built a tandem for he and Rob. Here's a link to a ride we took earlier this month that one of the unicyclists, Kevin, put together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le3NkPh4NfA&feature=youtu.be&list=UUvmYRqLMWIwVa2vJRet5obg

The ride is called "Rob's Ride" not because of Rob Thompson, but another unicyclist who began a weekly ride in Santa Cruz which we participate in occasionally.

This year we also applied to be ambassadors for World Bicycle Relief. WBR is an amazing charity which provides bikes for people for education, health-care, and businesses in Africa. They also train people to be mechanics so the program is sustainable. Here's a link to their page: http://www.worldbicyclerelief.org/

We won't hear until next month whether or not we've been selected. I thought I'd share parts of the application on this site.

Why We Want to Serve as Team World Bicycle Relief Ambassadors

Bicycles change lives. I know, they changed mine.

In 2008 at the age of 19, our son, Rob, suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident. He was in a coma for five weeks and hospitalized for five months. It was nearly six months before he spoke and when he did, he started asking to bike.

At that time, he couldn't hold his own head up, couldn’t sit, stand, or even feed himself. He still asked to bike nearly every day. Depending on my mood, these requests either broke my heart or infuriated me.

My husband, Dave, had a different reaction. He began to research tandems that he could ride with Rob. Rob’s accident was hard on the whole family, but Dave seemed to have the hardest time accepting it. As a mechanical engineer, his job is to fix things and this was something he couldn’t fix.

After several weeks, Dave explained to me that there wasn't a bike available that would work for Rob. I expected that would be the end of the discussion. But instead, Dave told me he was going to build a tandem trike that he and Rob would ride. I thought he was crazy but, it would be good therapy for him.

By 2010, the bike was complete. Rob's first ride lasted less than a mile. Rob was thrilled. HIs legs shook involuntarily even hours after riding, but he loved it.

Dave was disappointed they couldn’t ride farther. Dave has always loved cycling. He rode across the country after high school so a century ride was pretty routine.

I enjoyed biking and had never biked more than ten miles at a time. I pointed out that our son, who couldn't walk and hadn't done much exercising in two years, was able to bike nearly a mile. I was amazed.

In 2011, we were riding regularly on weekends. Dave signed the three of us up for a 30 mile bike ride. Again, I thought he was crazy. We biked 20 miles on that ride. It was a record for Rob and I.

Last year, we set another record for Rob and I biking 60 miles. The next day, while I was wiped out, Rob asked if we could bike again. I thought he's crazy, just like his dad.

I continue to think Rob and Dave are crazy and amazing. Rob is still in a wheelchair. But, biking has helped him relearn a cadence we hope will help him walk again.  He says he feels normal when he bikes and he always wants to bike longer.

We know bikes can change lives. Rob was lucky to have a father who could create a bike that worked for him. World Bike Relief creates bikes that work for people. We want to help get as many bikes as we can to people who can use them. We want to be ambassadors to demonstrate the power of bicycles.

1 person hearted this



Donna Tonry
By Donna Tonry
This is incredibly moving, Amy. I'm sure your sincerity and huge heart will earn you this funding! Waiting to hear good news...
1 person hearted this
Joyce Cammisa
By JOYce
Amy, they're crazy if they don't take you ~ I can't imagine anyone having a more powerful application than yours! :)
1 person hearted this