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Readying for Tour de Cure
Rochester, N.Y. -- Bright and early on some mornings, you'll find University of Rochester Medical Center CEO Dr. Brad Berk cycling along the Erie Canal Heritage Trail on his tadpole bike.
Some would argue that back in 2009, this would have been unlikely. Berk broke his neck and was left paralyzed after a bicycle accident. Almost one year later, he was riding again with the help of a special bike.
"I think a lot of people think about what can't be done instead of what can be done," he said while practicing for the Rochester Tour de Cure, a cycling event raising money for the American Diabetes Association. "Just set a goal and go for it."
Berk is leading a team in this year's Tour de Cure, hoping to raise a record amount of money for the event.
"We have a bigger team," said Berk, referring to previous teams he's led. "There's a lot more interest this time around."
Riding along with Berk is John Fahner-Vihtelic, who helped get Berk take the steps to cycling again following his 2009 accident.
Berk became disabled back in the mid-1970s following an automotive accident, and slowly but surely took the steps to be able to cycle again and do other activities.
"In the early '80s, I was active in a variety of things," he said. "Cross-country ski racing and triathlons, to name a few."
Vihtelic is part of Sportsnet, a Rochester-based organization helping those with disabilities participate in activities. He'll be taking part in the Tour de Cure as well, but added the sky is the limit for him and others.
"All you have to do is adapt to the disability," he said, "It's called adaptive sports; everyone's disability is different."
13WHAM News is a sponsor of the Rochester Tour de Cure, which takes place on June 8 at Monroe Community College on East Henrietta Road.
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