Amputees transcontinental bike ride arrives at Van Matre HealthSouth

Amputees Across America, a group of three amputees making a transcontinental bike ride, arrives at Van Matre HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital at 10 a.m., July 2. The trio is riding in 150-mile relays across the United States, visiting hospitals and local amputee support groups to increase public awareness of amputees as people with active lifestyles.

While in Rockford, Amputees Across America members Linda Holt, Kip Peavy and James Thayer, plus a Junior Amputee Ambassador, and an adult guest rider will visit Van Matre HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital patients to share stories of overcoming their amputation to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

This is the third year AAA has made a cross-country journey. In 2002, AAA founding members Joe Sapere, Jerry Suggs and John Keating pedaled from California to Virginia in a 3,500-mile ride. Last year, Jim DeLong, Mark Farrell and Bruce Hibbett biked 1,000 miles farther, traversing the country diagonally from Seattle to Jacksonville, Fla. This year, Holt, Peavy and Thayer will ride 4,100 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to Rockefeller Center in New York City.

This year’s riders were selected from more than 150 applicants to sponsor Ohio Willow Wood. “We wanted to find three people who most reflected our vision from the first two years,” said Sapere, who again will serve as trip coordinator this year. “We had approximately 150 entries; of those approximately 30 stood out—but only three were actually selected for the journey.”

Holt has been an amputee for approximately two years. She and the other riders are between the ages of 41 to 54 and are active in many sports. Peavy lives in Alabama and is an after-market automobile product dealer. Thayer recently earned a master’s degree from Friends University in Marriage and Family Therapy and is currently focusing on emergency services personnel, trauma, critical incidents and stress therapy.

Amputees Across America started their ride on June 2, and plans to complete the journey on August 6. To track the trio’s progress, visit their Web site at

Van Matre HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, located at 950 S. Mulford Rd., is a joint-venture between Rockford Health System and HealthSouth Corporation.

Sponsors for the ride are Ohio Willow Wood, a leading prosthetic company and manufacturer of the Pathfinder foot and Alpha liner, and HealthSouth Corporation, the nation’s largest provider of health care services, with nearly 1,700 facilities nationwide and abroad.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!