BRIGHTON, Colo. — A former Brighton Police Officer, who went on disability in 2001, says his life changed on Sunday—thanks to a new, recumbent bike.
Bill Holder has traumatic Myleomalacia—which is severe spinal cord damage, as a result of several high-speed crashes that happened on the job, none of which Holder was at fault for.
“I ended up with two discs that were pressing on my spinal cord, in my neck,” Holder told Fox31.
He was found permanently occupational disabled, and awarded disability pension—which is 50% pay.
His wife, Jana, says the disease can get worse but never better.
“We were being told by all of the doctors that he would not be able to walk, that we would need to prepare for a wheel chair,” she said, recalling a hospital visit in recent months.
But another neurologist told the Holder family Bill would have a chance to keep walking, if he could continue to exercise and stay active. The challenge was finding a way to do that, without forcing him on his feet.
Jana says she did some research and came across a company called Recumbent Trike Store, which specializes in adult recumbent tricycles.
“God answered all our prayers in a recumbent bike,” she said, smiling.
Through community fundraisers, and a generous donation from the MC-1 Foundation, the entire cost of the estimated $6,000 bike was covered.
“It just means a lot to know that we’re not forgotten and that people do care,” said Holder, while sitting on his new trike on Sunday.
He says it’s a big stride forward in taking back control in his life.
“It’s exhilarating. It’s a whole new freedom again,” he said.
Jana said the trike was created specifically for Bill.
“It’s put to his leg heights, he has the back support, the neck support,” she said. “There’s no other way for him to get the motor function that he gets from it."
It also has an electric assist for hills or difficult terrain, and will turn on if Holder’s legs give out unexpectedly.
The retired officer took his first ride Sunday afternoon.
“I haven’t seen that smile in, I’d say, 20 years,” said Jana, laughing.
The 57-year-old is looking forward — for the first time in decades — to the road ahead.
“It means I can go out on my own and it also means I can spend time with my family. We used to ride bikes a lot, and it’s something I haven’t been able to do because of my balance,” said Holder.
“I know to some people, it may just seem like a bike. But it’s so much more than that to us,” said Jana, with tears in her eyes. "It’s a quality of life, it’s time with a family, and it’s going to keep my husband walking.”