WASHINGTON - A local bicyclist knocked down by a hit-and-run driver during a cross-country ride for charity says he will ride on.
Jacob Landis of Annapolis, Md. lost his hearing at an early age and received a cochlear implant when he was 10 years old. It changed his life.
This year, the 24-year-old took on an ambitious challenge.
He decided to begin "Jacob's Ride," a bike trip across the country and visit all 30 major league baseball parks to try to raise $1 million for kids who need the expensive cochlear implants but can't afford them.
Since April, Landis has cycled 10,666 miles and stopped at 29 ballparks, but just 180 miles and one stadium short of his goal, he was clipped by the mirror of a tractor-trailer.
It happened in Florida on Sept. 21, and the driver did not stop.
After the accident, Landis next remembers waking up in the hospital.
His injuries included a concussion, a broken nose, a sprained shoulder and a sprained wrist.
"My arm is still pretty bad. I have a sprained shoulder and a sprained wrist. My elbow's OK, but because of my wrist I can't grip anything and I have pretty limited motion in my shoulder," Landis said at a welcome-home party thrown for him Wednesday at the Whole Foods in Annapolis where he works.
Once he's healed, he plans to finish those final miles.
"The first thing I'm going to do when I can is I'm going to get back on the bike and I really want to see this beautiful city again."
At Wednesday's party, Landis was hailed as a hero.
"We changed some kids' lives this summer, and I couldn't have done it without you. You guys are just as much heroes as I am," he told the small crowd.
"I didn't ever want to let the City of Annapolis down. Anyone that gave us money, expecting us to complete the ride, giving us money hoping that we're going to change a kid's life, it was always in my mind, even on the hardest days when we were in the mountains and the wind."
Landis says the ride has been an amazing experience.
"I got something I'll never forget. I've been to 36 states. I've been over the Appalachian Mountains two times, going east to west, west to east. I've been over the Rockies in Montana and the Rockies in Colorado, the Cascades in Washington and Oregon."
He says there were quite a few surprises, including the weather conditions in the mountains.
"I was using toe warmers. I had two pairs of gloves on, in the middle of June. We were out in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, and I had no idea that I would still be wearing all my cold weather supplies that late in the year."
So far, Jacob's Ride has raised more than $140,000.
You can read more about it as well as donate to the cause at jacobsride.com.
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