Athlete who became quadriplegic after motorcycle crash taking on bike ride across America

Friday, June 14, 2024
Inspirational quadriplegic athlete takes on cross-country bike ride
Quadriplegic athlete Aaron Baker is on the move! He is riding his bike across America. His mission: turn adversity into adventure.

UPLAND, Calif. (KABC) -- Ten years ago, we introduced you to the inspiring athlete, Aaron Baker. He's now on a journey of a lifetime entitled: "Adversity into Adventure."

Baker is on the move again, which is stunning when you consider, 25-years-ago, doctors gave him one-in-a-million chance of ever feeding himself again after a motorcycle crash left him a quadriplegic.

"Man, if I don't get out there and really share my two and a half decades of life experience with this injury, be really useful to other individuals that are struggling," said Baker.

Monday June 10, Baker left the Santa Monica Pier to start his ride across America. It's to support his mission: turn adversity into adventure.

"When I think about my history, essentially Curt, that's what I've been doing this whole time," Baker said. "I feel that my words hold more weight when I'm literally pushing pedals. When I'm living on the road with my daughter and my wife and just traveling from state to state, hospital to hospital."

On June 12, Baker spoke to a room full of spinal cord injured men and women at Casa Colina in Pomona, a rehabilitation center. His message: movement enhances longevity!

"It is the exclamation point on everything we believe at Casa (Colina). We are looking to develop community and have the opportunity at reintegration and Aaron's mission is exactly that,' said Lisa Hilborn, the Casa Colina director of wheelchair sports.

Casa Colina was an early stop in Baker's journey.

"Every spinal cord injury is different. I will never say that if you do what I do that you'll have a similar outcome, but I can tell you, that if you don't, then your future is predictable. So, my message is TRY!" said Baker.

And then Baker surprised me... by standing.

"So It's just be the candle right just light another person's fire," Baker said.

Baker is convinced that healing starts with moving forward and replacing the pain with gratitude. "ACT it's a powerful acronym - action changes things."

"Talk about possibilities not probabilities and yes, there are probabilities and things in each and every patient is different. But if there's possibilities and people are inspired by that, it makes all the difference," said Kelly Linden, CEO of Casa Colina.

Baker's third Father's Day will be filled with purpose and perspective.

"As a father, my daughter does not see my disability. She sees my choices each and every day. Handshakes and hugs and high fives. It doesn't get better than that," he said.