Dave never ceases to amaze me....He is not only my biggest brother - he is an inspiration. If you need a reason to have him inspire you - read this.... It will let you understand Dave a little bit better - and let you know just how much bicycling meant to him. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/dedgren
I call him Dave - everyone else calls him David..... he lets me get away with calling him Dave ONLY because I am his little sister..... I LOVE YOU DAVE!!!
On June 23rd, he started out from Seaside, Oregon on a cross country bicycle trip.... he was to end up in Seaside, New York, on the 3rd of October. As he collected memories, photo's, and new friends along the way, he continued to inspire and amaze those who have followed his life journey the past few years. His friends and family had no doubt that he would succeed, since he had already completed a long distance ride from Nova Scotia, Canada to Key West, FL, and another the length of the Mississippi - from Minnesota to Louisiana. The amazing pictures, and the detailed (and often witty) commentary he posted with each ride drew you in and left you eagerly awaiting the next.
On July 23rd, David had made it well into Montana - 30 days into his ride. Micah, whom David met while on the road, and who became his riding partner for their time together, had gone ahead to find a camping spot. Setting up took about an hour, and he became concerned that David did not emerge yet. There was no cell signal or a town near the campground and so he went back to that the lone camper with a vehicle, and asked if he could drive him up the path to find David. The guy said he was too drunk and did not offer use of the car. So Micah walked to each of the trailers in the campground hoping one had a park ranger in it. No one answered at any of them. He then saw a pay phone and walked over to it - but the phone had been ripped out. The whole time while concerned, Micah kept thinking David was likely to come out soon. After all this, it was getting to be too long and sundown was about an hour away. It didn’t make sense to go looking for David alone… if there was a problem he would need help. So he went to a friendly young woman, Gilmore McLean, and asked if she would drive him until he found signal. She agreed and they drove about 15 minutes up the road until he got signal.
Micah called 911 and they listened carefully to the story including where they had both started the day and where Micah ended up. She said a deputy would meet him at the campground. It took a long time for the deputy to get there. It was 10:00 pm or so by this time. Micah asked about the delay and the deputy explained his county is 7 times the size of Rhode Island and it takes time to get anywhere. Micah asked if he could come with him looking for David. The deputy asked if Micah had a gun... and when he established he was safe alone with him, Micah joined him. (lol) The deputy also said another deputy had already been going down the road from where we started. He was nervous for that deputy because it was starting to thunder and the road washes out. As they went up the hill the deputy commented that they “would have to turn back if it starts to rain”.
They found David. It had started to rain but the other deputy arrived within a few minutes. David was very quiet and breathing lightly. He was talking very lightly to answer questions and wanted them to turn his neck. The two deputies were AMAZING. They were respectful, careful, patient, all while managing a very high risk situation for David and with the full on storm going, it was difficult. The deputies did not think the ambulance could come up the hill with the rain, and they were going to go down and get the board and bring it back up so they could move David into the back of their truck. But the ambulance drove right up - not a moment’s hesitation for their own safety. They worked beautifully with each other to stabilize David, getting him on the board, and the neck brace in place. Then they had to figure out how to turn the ambulance around. That was an amazing feat of teamwork. When they all got down off the hill, they were figuring out where to bring David and also Micah. The location to meet the helicopter changed a few times because of the storm. In the end they were told they had to wait for the lightning to stop. To give you a sense of the storm, there were a lot of trees down in the campground. L David was taken by helicopter to Great Falls, MT, where his injuries were determined to be severe enough that he should be flown to Harborview Hospital in Seattle.
Although we pray and hope for miracles, things are progressing slowly. The injuries are extremely severe. He had two definite cervical fractures at his C6-C7 (requiring surgery to stabilize), a gash on top of his head, a subdural hematoma at the base of the skull, a broken rib, and various scrapes and bruises. In addition to the C7 fracture, David has a C2 fracture and C2 spinal cord injury. This very high fracture and injury is what makes the ventilator necessary. Only time will tell, and the sheer force of David’s will, if we will be able to leave this piece of equipment in our dust. It has left him (at this time) paralyzed from the top of his shoulders down. Hearing that most likely David will never be able to return to Alaska, much less to his home, was heart wrenching. Based on the care and services that will be required as a result of the spinal cord injury - we have been told those services are just not available in AK. Dave will be in Seattle for the foreseeable future.
So to all David’s new and old friends, please understand how difficult this situation is for everyone, and know that we would love to keep everyone updated on a regular basis - some days we are just not strong enough to sit down and focus on the situation hard enough to write it all down. We feel your love and support across the miles and appreciate it every day!