Willard White and family friend Sklyar Zesch are in the midst of a 3,333 mile trek. They are pedaling from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean to raise money and awareness for Shriners Hospitals for Children®. Willard says he hopes the three-month trip will raise at least $10,000. White's wife Laura and their daughters are following the pair in a van filled with supplies.
Willard and family will be in Davenport on Friday, July 16th. They will be on Paula Sands Live at 4:30pm on KWQC-TV 6.
Each the White's three adopted daughters has a complicated medical history which required either life-saving or life-altering care. Now, White is charting his own expedition to thank the hospital that made that care possible.
"I am pedaling several million times to raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children® to give back for all they have done for my family and many others," he said.
The Whites credit Shriners Hospitals for Children® ? Salt Lake City Chief of Staff Jacques D'Astous, M.D., with saving the life of their oldest daughter Marcela. When she arrived in the U.S. from a Bolivian orphanage, the 12-year-old had severe scoliosis. Laura White says her daughter's spinal deformity had progressed to the point it was compressing down on her lungs, "If they hadn't put the rod in her back, she would have died in her twenties. Shriners Hospitals for Children® gave her a chance to live."
Marcela experienced complications during her 22-hour spine surgery due to another rare and undetected condition. As a result, she underwent another twelve surgeries within two weeks. The Whites say Dr. D'Astous stuck with them throughout.
"I've never been around such compassionate care," Willard said. "I just remember him crying and hugging me. It was a miracle he got her to pull through."
Marcela was never expected to walk, but after months of intense physical therapy and years of hard work, she can now walk with a crutch. At age 22 she is a happy newlywed and animation major at Brigham Young University.
The Whites also adopted two other girls. Baya has cerebral palsy and has received surgery and therapy at Shriners Hospitals for Children®. A third daughter, Faith, sustained a brain injury before birth that causes her to walk on her toes. The hospital system has helped her by providing physical therapy and orthotics.
Willard logs 50 - 60 miles a day on his bike. Along the way he shares his story about the expert pediatric orthopaedic care his daughters received at Shriners Hospitals for Children®.
Willard and Skylar are expected to reach Coney Island in August. You can follow their progress at http://inspirationroad.blogspot.com/ and donate through the White's personal fundraising page, which is on the Shriners Hospitals for Children® website at http://support.shrinershospitals.org/site/TR/Events/General?pxfid=1090&fr_id=1030&pg=fund .
To create your own personal fundraising page to support the life-changing care provided by Shriners Hospitals for Children®, visit www.donate2shc.org/personalfundraising.