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Ride Fatboy Ride
Using my midlife crisis to fight evil!
I first met Mike Utley in the summer of 1988. I was attending WSU new student orientation and Mike was a senior All-American offensive lineman. Mike's sister was my student counselor and invited him to have lunch with us one day. Seeing him dashed any lingering thoughts I had about walking on to the football team. Simply put - he was the largest human I had ever seen. I followed Mike's NFL career with great interest and was shocked and horrified when I found out he'd been paralyzed in a game during the 1991 season. It wasn't long after his accident that my cousin suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed as well. Utley's story served as inspiration then and we helped the cause by purchasing his original "Thumb's Up" t-shirts. Since his injury, Mike has dedicated his life to helping people live wih spinal cord injuries and ultimately, to help find a cure for paralysis. His story is truly inspiring. Last August, my Mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. Looking for ways to keep her spirits up after surgery to remove the tumor from her brain, I contacted Dani and Mike Utley to see if Mike would be willing to call or write. At 9AM on the Monday morning after my Mom returned home from the hospital, she received a phone call from Mike. She was so excited to hear from him and even more surprised when an autographed picture of Mike, in his Detroit Lions uniform, arrived in the mail a couple days later. Her recovery from surgery was not easy but Mom had a goal to make it to Pullman for the Apple Cup football game between WSU and UW. At the game, she finally got the chance to meet Mike and Dani in person to thank them. True to form, the Utley's invited her to sit with them for the game. Needless to say, Mike Utley is one of my heroes. I'm happy to be able to give something back to the Utleys with my participation in the 2009 Dam2Dam "Thumb's Up" Bike Tour. I'll be riding at least 50 miles this year and I hope that you'll support my effort with a tax-deductible donation to Mike's foundation. My goal is to raise a minimum of $2500. Every little bit helps! Thanks for your support. Thumb's Up! Tad
The Mike Utley Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization. Your donation is tax deductible as allowed by law.
Mom and Mike Utley at the 2008 Apple Cup

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Goal: $2,500

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