Courtesy Photo Ridge Area Arc Behavior Analyst Rick Zawlocki gets instructions from Rich Dixon on how to ride his hand cycle while Dixon's wife Becky and dog Monte watch. Zawlocki demonstrated to the Arc consumers and staff how it works during a presentation at the agency on Monday.
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published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Arc gets a dose of hope from traveler
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Ridge Area Arc employees and members received a word of hope Monday when a special guest stopped by to share his story.
Rich Dixon, a quadriplegic cyclist, has been on a long journey across the country where he has shared his story with all who are willing to hear.
Dixon rides what is known as a hand cycle, which has been his second home for the past several months. The Colorado native is also a published author; Dixon has authored two books that describe his life following his accident that left him nearly completely paralyzed and the hope he has gained because of it.
Dixon was paralyzed after falling from a ladder hanging Christmas lights at his Colorado home.
"He is sharing his story of hope," said Dixon's wife Becky. "We've met so many people that are looking for hope and are facing disasters and difficulty. He wants to give the gift of hope to others."
Dixon's journey, with his wife and dog Monte by his side, began four weeks ago when a desire to travel across the country on his cycle became a reality for the couple.
"He kept telling me he had this desire to do a cross country ride. I just kept saying 'OK, honey.' I encouraged him and the desire just wouldn't go away. He kept talking about it and here we are," Becky said.
Along the journey, Rich has stopped at numerous facilities along his trek to give an encouraging word to those living with disabilities and other issues.
Though Dixon rarely has spent time with individuals with mental disabilities, his stop at Ridge Area Arc was greatly appreciated by employees and members alike. Dixon focuses on telling his story to different platforms in different ways. Depending on the audience, he sometimes focuses on the strength he found through God and grace, other times focusing on perseverance and purpose.
"It's not always about the disabilities you can see like my husband's ... people need hope in general. He tells them to not give up, to find a passion to focus on the things you can do instead of those you can't. He reaches people however they need to be reached," Becky said.
As for Rich's Ride, the cyclist is on a steady journey to continuing to spread hope and acceptance throughout the country. Dixon doesn't want to take all the glory for his efforts and has dedicated his ride to raising funds for the Convoy of Hope organization, a faith-based non-profit that provides disaster response and international feeding initiatives for children.
Dixon has rode 1,000 miles around the perimeter of Florida since he started in Jacksonville on Jan. 28 and traveled all the way down to Miami. Following his appearance at Arc Monday, Dixon traveled another 50 miles to Lakeland before calling it a day. Dixon is currently heading north away from Lakeland to continue his journey through the state of Florida with many more stops on his agenda.
For more information on Rich's Ride or to donate to the Convoy of Hope Charity visit Dixon's website at www.richsride.org/.
tell me again (by: Ray Napper - 2/21/2013)
why is it we can't find heroes??? There's one.
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