Video: My Story - Ride for Spine

Jan 30, 2014
by David Parke  

Bent Out of Shape from Catharine Parke on Vimeo.


My name is David and I am a 47 year old film technician, recreation student at Langara, father of two and an incomplete quadriplegic.


On June 13, 2010, I was riding down Boundary DH on Fromme Mt. in North Vancouver (I grew up in the legendary Deep Cove area, and these trails were my backyard) and came off of the elevated platform and crashed. The result of this accident every mountain biker's worst fear, my being paralyzed from the neck down instantly.

I was riding alone and had to lie there yelling, trying to stay calm and breathe until eventually a neighbour in the area came to find me, thankfully. Although I have I have ridden this trail and most of the trails in North Vancouver for 30 years, it was my unlucky day. After 3 1/2 years of recovery and learning to walk again, I am able to ride a bicycle again. Although freeriding is out, I cross country mountain bike and cycle commute on a cyclocross bike several times a week.

Back from a cycle commute 49th and Cambie

Fast forward to today's date and I am planning on riding for a fundraiser from Whitehorse to Vancouver in June 2014 to raise money for Spinal Cord Injury BC (SCIBC). For all that I've been through and countless others enjoying life, SCIBC is providing amazing support, money, mentorship and assistance to spinal injured people throughout the province. As little or as much as you can donate is greatly appreciated.


If you are interested in helping with this fundraiser please check out the following links:

Ride For Spine Facebook Page

Indiegogo - Ride For Spine

Ride safe and hope to see you out there riding sometime.
David


89 Comments

  • 69 1
 That is some scary stuff, fortunately you are able to get back up on your feet. truly an inspiration.
  • 27 0
 My mother is a LPN ( Licensed Practical Nurse) at GF Strong Rehab Centre. She works in the Spinal Cord injury unit. She sees mountain bikers as some of her patients there, time to time. I make sure to visit and say hello to any fellow riders there and try to keep spirits up. Its tough going through rehab and learning how to adapt to life with a spinal inhury.

I haven't had an injury and hope not to and of course my mom is very weary of me riding, its certainly a reality of our sport that these things happen. I'm really happy to see David's on his feet again, a lot of perseverance and good help along the way!
  • 5 0
 @dirttrailsociety anything can end up with an accident, so all we have to do is to replace scare with humility, respect and gratefullness.
  • 5 0
 i spent 7 months at G.F. and had Darryll as my PT as well, great guy, he knows his stuff. Congrats on speedy recoup. have fun on your ride...
  • 5 0
 It's scary life changing seconds and all you can do is do the best you can. I had Darryll at one point as a P.T. and one day in between clients he told me we were going to stand and walk. Keep believing anything is possible regardless of what Dr.'s tell you.
  • 27 0
 Just got out of the hospital after being there for 1 1/2 months, definitely have a completely different way of life. The things that he said are so true. Nurses should be paid a lot more for what they do.
  • 5 0
 Thanks for your support of your Nurses. I myself am a Nurse, and I have had a C1 and C7 fracture as well. I was lucky enough to walk away with no major long term effects of my injury other than some numbness in areas of my back and face.
  • 3 0
 Ditto. I'm also an ICU Nurse... Nice to hear people appreciate what we do sometimes (even if it is on a bike website)... More often than not it's the opposite. Glad both of ya'll made it out ok.
  • 1 0
 All medical professionals and support staff deserve huge respect and appreciation. In GF Strong there were a number of spinal injured people that came through at the same time. As we age and want to continue with our active lifestyles we need to consider outcomes when recreating.
  • 21 0
 This video is so emotional. Sometimes it's good to be reminded how lucky we are..
  • 3 0
 No kidding! I don't know about the rest of you but I was a bit teary-eyed by the end.
  • 8 0
 Amazing! Inspirational & a hero. I know exactly what he experienced. I'm a 26 year old male. I broke my neck in June XC riding. Broke C6-7 & fractured C1, a spinal cord contusion & an incomplete quad. I'm now up & walking with lofstrands. It's pretty scary how indentical our stories are. I'd share my page but I don't know if that's the right thing to do.
  • 2 0
 For sure, share away. It's a good/bad story but one that needs to be told. We can only learn from each other-take care and have fun whatever and whenever possible.
  • 2 0
 I busted T8 in half last spring and got extremely close to spinal cord damage but was fortunate enough to escape it, although they were forced to fuse T7, 8, and 9. Guys like you two are why I tell people I got off easy. I hope things continue to improve for you. Evan - I also live not far from Highland in NH. Mark was kind enough to defer my season pass to 2014 after I dragged myself into his office walking like a zombie. Feel free to shoot me a message.
  • 9 0
 I'm in the hospital awaiting cervical spine disc replacement as I write this. Very inspirational as it's hours before I get my operation.
  • 10 0
 Good luck bro
  • 4 0
 yeah good luck man
  • 3 0
 it will be difficult but in the end of your journey. you will inspire others. good luck. eat well and recover. from davids wife. Sherri
  • 3 0
 Good luck!!
  • 3 0
 Good luck bro !!
  • 3 0
 Many thanks, I hope no one has to go through this and happily rides without incident. Best of luck 'nocker' with your surgery. Keep positive regardless of what others say.
  • 5 0
 Amazing recovery testimony, true hero. I will need to stay in bed/house for the next 8 weeks, healing from my 3rd back surgery, now they took off 2 f*d up discs and left no cage or screws to hold it apart. I have severe back pain for 7 years now, fysiotherapy every day. Can only imagine what you crossed.
This article came in good time.
  • 1 0
 Hang in there. A sports psychologist once got me to meditate and breathe to alleviate pain-which may or may not be effective-the psychologist is renowned for pain therapy, his name Saul Miller. I wish you luck in remedying the pain and finding a solution. Take care.
  • 1 0
 Thank you so much for the advice, I will look for Saul Miller's work, and meditation, you realy inspire peolple with your history. Breathe control is great I quit smoking with breathing exercises I know it can even help with the stain that forms in the brain after more than 5 years of cronic pain. Take care too.
  • 7 0
 Awesome video!!! I admire this dudes will to improve and he has good taste in bike brands.
  • 8 0
 You, Sir, have balls of steel, and the fortitude to match...
  • 8 1
 F*** that, as soon as the season starts, I'm buying a full face helmet, a neck brace and a spine protector.
  • 2 0
 That's a good start... but not a guarantee. Just ride smart and hope you're lucky enough never to have to live that kind of a roller-coaster ride.
  • 4 0
 Amazing and inspirational! Having suffered from nerve damage myself and dealing with the constant battle of trying to regain control of muscles, actions, and feelings once taken for grantide can be demoralizing. You sir are a true warrior. A individual that has not given up on himself and his family. Good on you for being so strong, and even better for being one that can recognize the ones that helped in your rehabilitation. I wish you the best in all you journeys and endeavors.
  • 2 0
 Likewise; nobody understands what nerve pain feels like until you experience it personally. Keep strong.
  • 4 0
 I hugely appreciate the comments. Accidents can happen crossing a street or wherever, so don't let that stop you from doing what you enjoy doing. I may have hesitated before crashing. If your going to commit, don't hesitate, punch it! and of course know your limits and try and wear proper gear for the type of riding you do. All the best. I look forward to showing footage of this ride as a reminder that anything is possible and nothing isn't. There are many incredible stories of people with spinal injuries. Keep positive and take care. You people are awesome!
  • 4 0
 brought a tear to my eye, when trying to stand! Every riders worst nightmare come true! truly an inspiration....! Well done Big Chap!
  • 6 0
 Mr., you made me cry at the office.
  • 2 0
 David i hope you get to read all these comments as they can only begin to let you know how impressive your story is.
Through out the first section of the video one word stick in my mind and gave me hope. The word was "couldn't", i was so glad to hear that word instead of "can't".
It's so inspiring to see how far your recovery has come. Seeing something like that is Far more impressive than any jump or trick seen in bike videos.
Thank you for sharing your story.
  • 1 0
 Thanks,
my sister is also the one to say thanks to, otherwise my story would never be told/ shown. Never give up.
  • 1 0
 I'm just glad there was a positive story to tell. We can all relate to having family and friends helping us through bad times.

Smile
  • 4 0
 Great story, well documented, thanks for sharing. Never take life for granted.
  • 6 0
 RESPECT!
  • 3 0
 I donated! This is an extremely worthy cause that hits close to home for any rider. Good for you for giving back to the facility and people who helped you. Inspiring.
  • 3 0
 Cripes, I ride Boundary alone all the time... or should I say 'used to ride Boundary' Great story of strength and courage, best of luck on the ride of your life Dave.
  • 2 0
 I broke 4 vertebrae and my pelvic bone 2 months ago. Finally getting back on my bike. I was wearing my leatt and full face. I am convinced that saved my life. Spinal injuries are my worst nightmare. Charge on man!!!!
  • 1 0
 This is amazing! Wonderful video.
Just a quick question;
As a coming-up mountian biker, protection is not always the " coolest " thing out there to rock.
However, I recently purchased an atlas and am on my way for a poc cortex.
do you feel that products in the market that are evolving to protect the spine, neck and head are "up to par" with the advance in trails and riding?
Thanks
-Sonny
  • 1 0
 Hi David,
You are truly amazing and an inspiration. You have come such a long way and you should be so very PROUD. I know that Grandpa Doc and Grandma Marge would be!!!
Best wishes from the Bennett, McCowan, Adkins, Wood clan.
Have an amazing,and most importantly SAFE, journey! ~ CHEERS ~ Cuz Karen :-)
  • 4 0
 You have very strong personality and will, I admire you!
  • 4 0
 Inspirational stuff, great to see you back on a bike
  • 3 0
 Respect! An amazing life story of willpower and a reminder that every day we live is a one to celebrate.
  • 4 0
 David Park, were you wearing a spine protector or neck brace?
  • 2 0
 any idea if that stuff would have helped your (his) injury? There seems to be a big debate about whether equipment will even help with the majority of back/neck injuries.
  • 1 0
 Hi,
Good question. I'm not sure if a neck brace or spine protector would've helped and no I wasn't wearing either. It would be interesting to see more R &D in this regard. Operator error is the usual culprit.
  • 2 0
 Thank you for sharing your story. Rehabbing from injury or illness will change your perspective on life and what's important.
  • 2 0
 David Parke, you are the man. I donated and then went back and donated again. I wish you luck and every success in your Ride for Spine fundraiser.
  • 3 0
 I've never seen anybody so happy using a gym bike. He is the hero. I wish him health and luck.
  • 2 0
 thanks pinkbike for showing us this video. a reminder to all of us to cherish every moment and love the people who love us and never give up. truly inspirational.
  • 2 0
 What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing this. It takes a lot of mental toughness to get through that. Im curious to see if in 3 yrs its a full recovery.
  • 1 0
 Thank-you, They told me full recovery is usually what happens within first 3 years, but I'd like to think there will be improvement indefinately-that's what I tell myself.
  • 1 0
 I am a student PT working at GF Strong. My boss is Darryl. It has been an amazing experience here combining my two passions of physiotherapy and mountain biking. All the best in your recovery!
  • 4 0
 Wow..
  • 3 0
 Totally amazing! Hats off to you sir...
  • 3 0
 time to get myself a neck brace
  • 3 0
 a true inspiration! thank you for sharing
  • 3 0
 Inspirational,but so scary to think he could happen to us.
  • 3 0
 You my friend are beyond a committed rider. You are pretty damn awesome.
  • 2 0
 Thankyou for sharing your story David, you are very inspiring, good luck for the future, awesome man.
  • 1 0
 Ok a massive high five and kudos to him the film actually made me cry as it was so moving. Its people like this that prove that anything is possible. A true hero in my eyes
  • 3 0
 believe in impossible!
  • 2 0
 no, believe that anything is possible.
  • 3 0
 Good on ya
  • 3 0
 Absolutely inspirational
  • 2 0
 Awesome! Simply awesome.
  • 2 0
 aweasome :') "Never back Down"
Good Luck man! Smile
  • 2 0
 David, you're the Man, truly inspirational. Peace Out, Andrew
  • 3 0
 wata trooper
  • 2 0
 Inspiration. What a story. Glad I watched this video.
  • 2 0
 Inspirational,good luck for the future and enjoy you back on a bike.
  • 2 0
 great video, thanks for posting this
  • 1 0
 This is so awesome and spirit lifting and I'm so excited you can walk and do what you want again
  • 1 0
 What can I say EPIC!, take and enjoy each day as it comes... awesome story.
  • 1 0
 Small steps to the top. When all you've got is nothing, anything is something, great!
  • 1 0
 Very inspirational and makes me love my neck brace more and more. Congrats for being able to be mobile and ride again!
  • 2 0
 Thank you !
  • 2 0
 that was awesome.
  • 2 0
 you my hero
  • 1 0
 i ride that trail alone all the time, not anymore.
  • 1 0
 friend you deserve all the respect you are a lucky man I admire
  • 1 0
 Respect !!
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