Injury Causes Rider and GT Marketing Manager Andrew Cho to be Paralyzed

Jan 12, 2017
by Pinkbike Staff  
Views: 21,347    Faves: 13    Comments: 0


Andrew Cho, GT's Digital Marketing Manager, was recently hospitalized due to a ruptured blood vessel around his spinal cord that caused paralysis. Pinkbike's readers may know Cho from his days as a professional rider, beginning back with the Superheroes videos that provided inspiration for countless roof hucks around the world.

On January 6th at approximately 8PM, our dear friend, Andrew Cho, suffered a serious spinal cord injury which resulted in paralysis. At this time, he has regained limited mobility, but his future remains uncertain.

Andrew was at a dinner with friends when he started to experience dizziness along with numbness in his neck and outer limbs. Unbeknownst to him, he had a burst blood vessel in his C3 and C4 vertebrae. The cause of the burst blood vessel is still unknown. Andrew decided to head home early to rest. Once at home, the symptoms became more severe. Since he was home alone, Andrew decided to unlock the door in case paramedics were required.

When he stood up, the blood vessel had reached its tipping point. The trapped blood applied so much pressure to his spinal cord that it paralyzed him from the neck down.

Andrew collapsed.

Despite so many things going wrong with the situation, there were many fortunate events that saved Andrew’s life. His phone landed ten inches from his body. In an amazing feat of strength and survival, he was able to inch toward his phone using only his chin. After five unsuccessful attempts, he was able to use his tongue and with the help of Siri, dial 911.

When first responders arrived, he was rushed to VGH where he underwent a 4-hour emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on the spinal column.

Since the surgery, there have been many positive steps forward. Andrew regained limited mobility in his right side four days after the surgery. With the help of daily physio, his movements and strength on his right side have slowly been improving. However, his left side has been slower to respond. Andrew now has feeling down to his biceps, but movement is still very limited.

Although medical staff are encouraged by Andrew’s progress, they are very quick to emphasize that Andrew still has a very long road to recovery and he is in for a long, difficult year.

We are anticipating that Andrew will be unable to work for at least the next 12+ months. There will also be a tremendous amount of medical expenses as Andrew adapts to his new lifestyle. Rehabilitation, home and vehicle modifications, medical equipment, medications & supplies, and personal assistance are just some of the costs. Although this occurred in Canada where he has access to insurance and Health Care, the costs associated with paralysis are quite significant and often exceed $3 million in a lifetime.

For that reason, we have started a Go Fund Me campaign.

Our goal is to raise $75,000 as a start.

Andrew continues to impress us with his positive outlook, and determination to "walk out this mother f**ker". Of course, this should come as no surprise to anyone that knows him, as he has always faced each and every day with courage, kindness and adventure.

Andrew is the kind of person that would drop anything to help a friend - even if it meant driving down the coast of California or a spontaneous trip to Europe. Whether it's the next adventure or to simply comfort you during a quarter-life crisis, Andrew is always there. For these reasons and many more, let’s come together and show this unbelievable friend our support.

We #GotChoBack buddy!

Thank you in advance for your support, well wishes and for those of you that are able to visit, your time.

- With Love -
Andrew’s Friends, Family and Colleagues

DONATE NOW TO HELP A FALLEN BROTHER OUT


MENTIONS: @andrewcho


Must Read This Week

112 Comments

  • + 110
 Alright then Andrew, walk this motherfucker out! I chipped in on the Go Fund Me campaign site. If every PB visitor does so as well, we should be able to go well beyond that 75k target. Let's make it happen!
  • + 9
 About one third of the way there on Go Fund Me. Let's be like Church, everybody. Pray, but dig deeper when the collection plates passed around.
  • + 6
 MTB fam, we got this! Many hands make light work.
  • + 3
 @codypup: Wow, that's amazing. They had about 4k when I donated about 9hrs before you did. Everyone, be part of this!
  • + 1
 @vinay: closing in on 50k at 1:32 PST.Let's see Pinkbike smash through that 75k barrier today!!
  • + 3
 It is amazing how we all come from different walks of life yet we can come together to help a fellow MTBer out when they need it. Stay strong and positive Andrew as well as others who may be working through tough times!^^
  • + 4
 @vinay @codypup it smashed the $75K barrier in under a day. Thanks to everyone who helped out in whatever way they could!
  • + 2
 @RockyMountainBicycles: so great to see. Will be pulling for his recovery and praying for good news.
  • + 5
 Yeah 2017, show 2016 how it's done! I quickly browsed through the donations (back when it went just past 50k) to see who's donating and it is great to see that everyone really cares. Bike manufactures, race teams, component manufacturers, PB editors and loads of others. Covering some of his expenses is only part of it. For him it must be inspiring to see the cycling world this determined to reach the targeted 75k. Mental support is so important! As you will have seen, Andrew posted a thank you on the Go Fund Me page. He's determined to make a full recovery. Yeah!
  • + 0
 "We are anticipating that Andrew will be unable to work for at least the next 12+ months."

Wait, so GT stops paying him now? Isn't that illegal? Here in The Netherlands the employer must continue to pay the employee by law if he gets sick or injured.

I like this fundraiser, but I don't like how bad GT apparently treats this guy.
  • + 96
 The whole RMB office is pulling for you bud! See you soon!
  • + 56
 Pulling for you Andrew, big healing vibes and support from your local Vancouver crew.
  • + 41
 Stay strong! Despite tragic story that's the first time I see a real benefit in Siri. Send this story to Apple or post it on their fb page as a big thank you, probably they'll have some coins left for the gofundme campaign.
  • + 3
 Nice idea - It's an amazing feat, worthy cause and could be win-win...
  • + 13
 I think the most impressive part is he got Siri to actually understand what he was saying. Of course it did take 6 tries...
  • + 1
 6 tries? Eh that's about right for Siri. I can't believe that story though, what a beast. Its great to hear he's alright and improving.
  • + 42
 Let s get you back on your bike Cho, with your big smile as always.
  • + 37
 Cho, you're the man! Keep on pushing.
  • + 30
 Big healing vibes buddy! We're rooting for you in North Vancouver Cho!!
  • + 17
 Hopefully he'll make a full recovery - scary account of the incident, one can only imagine the stress he went through when he was trying to get to his phone - horrific.
I'm going on a road trip this weekend, to North Wales, hopefully mountain biking (the forecast is dire, snow and sleet), so I'll probably end up drinking too much beer, but I'm willing to make a commitment to drink two less beers and put the $10 in to the GoFundMe page - if everyone who reads this article did the same (typically 30,000 readers for a non-video page), we'd SMASH the target and feel a little bit better whilst doing it - this could be you one day, my friends...dig deep
  • + 6
 When you put it into that perspective (2 pints) how can anyone refuse, I'm in!
  • - 3
 @dglobulator: I do need my mid day pint in work though!
  • + 5
 @lee-vps-savage: Just have a half, then in four days send Cho 10 bucks ;-)
  • + 2
 What a horrifying story. To have a medical emergency that almost completely incapacitates you while home alone... its very fortunate he was able to get help in a timely manner. I can easily imagine myself in the same situation, lying on the floor for a day or two before someone came looking. Makes you appreciate having your health, and how unexpectedly life can completely change. A little cash won't be missed, you need it more than I do.
  • + 2
 @dglobulator: Half... I don't think they sell halves in Wales!?
  • + 3
 @lee-vps-savage: what do the kids drink then? A pint's hard to hold with small hands:-)
  • + 1
 @dglobulator: Bottles of Meths mon!
  • + 18
 The Race Face Family sends out healing vibes to you Andrew for a full recovery. You got this buddy - we all #gotchoback!!
  • + 13
 I'm an iOS app developer and have a few contacts at Apple. So I passed the story on and it's now been passed on again to their PR department in the U.K. and hopefully onwards. What's good PR for them what with using Siri to call 911, could make a load more exposure for your story Andrew, and hopefully help you smash your funding goal. Be strong, keep fighting, we're all looking out for you in every way we can. Peace
  • + 14
 Andrew, wishing you the best and hoping you pull through this difficult time.
All of us here have #gotchoback!
  • + 6
 Fuck yes we do!!
  • + 11
 I hope for a quick and strong recovery Andrew! A biker is always missed when they're not on the trails, get well soon!
  • + 7
 Cho is sincerely one of the raddest, funniest, hardest working people I know. I work with him at GT and he is one of the few people that can make me laugh until I cry. Including the time we were making dinner at GT factory racing team camp and LITERALLY chopping pounds and pounds of onions. We all have been thinking of him and his long road to recovery since we got the news last week. We love you Cho! We #GotChoBack.

Let's get you walking out this MFer, Cho!
  • + 10
 how does this happen?? Holy shit this story scared the piss outta me
  • + 5
 It was really rather horrible reading this. Cho's one of the nicest guys you could meet!*

*When he's not turning you into a human pretzel with the help of duct tape. Bastard.

A donation from Offset Bushings is coming your way my friend!
  • + 5
 Maybe he should check if he got a prescription for flourchinolone antibiotics in the last years. They weaken connective tissue in the body permanently and can cause ruptured blood vessels: www.drugwatch.com/cipro-levaquin-avelox
  • + 3
 I really hope this isn't as bad as it sounds. I cried when I heard about Martin Ashton, the trials legend and host of GMBN. Fingers crossed here for you brother, I hope you can overcome this. Much love Andrew Cho.
#KeepDownhillWild
  • + 6
 You got this Cho! Sending you all the positives from the East Coast!
  • + 4
 Sending healing vibes your way man. Super sad news to hear, and the fact that it was so out of the blue makes me stop and think and appreciate every day more.
  • + 2
 'Despite so many things going wrong with the situation, there were many fortunate events that saved Andrew’s life. His phone landed ten inches from his body. In an amazing feat of strength and survival, he was able to inch toward his phone using only his chin. After five unsuccessful attempts, he was able to use his tongue and with the help of Siri, dial 911.' - thats pretty badass! I'd just be freaking out but he managed to do all that!
  • + 2
 Prayers and dollars out to you. -- Uncle went through this last year, vessel in brain, 1 month coma, surgeries--1 year later, working, golf, bike.....I was devastated, now I listen to all the ladies in the family who said miracles can happen--expecting a full recovery for you.
  • + 2
 I'm currently riding one of Andrew's old frames and he was awesome to deal with and even sent me some stickers and a t-shirt (good GT rep!) I love that shirt.

All the healing vibes in the world to you, Andrew. Get better soon buddy!
  • + 3
 Walk out of that motherf@cker Cho. When I get paid I will be putting my normal parts/tools budget towards #gotchoback. Heal up
  • + 5
 Dat boii gotta wheelie again. I think I got a 50 with his name on it !
  • + 1
 I am so sorry to hear your news, Andrew. The positive sentiments written here radiate so much love for you. People believe in you and want you to heal from this life alteration. While the drawbacks are obvious, I think the opportunities to work on your stationary pursuits have presented themselves. Are there books you would like to read; courses you can now take; creative designs that can be finalized? The love for your own internal passions can be realized with this time you are given. After all, you never know when a daredevil may emerge like the phoenix and change your focus once again. Please be well, inside and out.
  • + 1
 Scary shit! I didn't know one could get paralyzed just like that!! Just the thought freaks me out! Stay strong buddy! The worst is over! From now it's just pushing up...think of it as a super long hike-a-bike.. later the fun will come! Believe!! We do Smile
  • + 2
 All of us at the GT Bicycles Fan Club GotchoBack man !!! Hoping for a speedy recovery !! Everybody head over to the Go Fund Me Page and chip in !!
  • + 1
 I'm not really familiar with this injury. If his paralysis is due to a ruptured blood vessel and not an actual break of bone or the spinal chord does that mean there's a chance for reversal? Either way, good vibes!
  • + 4
 Healing vibes from Brazil. I wish you a full recovery man. Be strong.
  • + 1
 I'm pulling for you cho! I believe you are going to get back on your feet. Bikers are the most resilient breed, and always prove the doctors wrong! Heal up buddy! Everyone here believes in you!
  • + 3
 All the UK MTB Guys and Girls sending you the good vibes. Get back on the track soon
  • + 4
 Fuck this shit up, Andrew!!! You got this brotha!!!
  • + 2
 Healing vibes coming at you from the frozen Midwest and Trek! Let's get this awesome human funded Pinkbikers!
  • + 1
 As a cancer survivor, all I can say is BE STRONG and not dwell on the negatives. Instead, focus on the positives... family, friends, or what ever fills your bucket. Heal up!!
  • + 1
 I'm sorta lost, if Canada has free health care, where is this money going? I know several Canadians who have supplemental insurance to cover additional expenses.
  • + 2
 Certain things will be deemed medically necessary by the insurance company and will be paid for. Some things to make your life easier will not be covered by insurance and thats what this money is for.
  • + 1
 Only met Cho a few time for brief moments, sorry to hear something like this happening to a good guy. I hope Cho beats this thing and has a full recovery.
  • + 1
 The whole DT Swiss family is pulling for you Andrew!! Damn, I just spoke with you last month too brother, contact me if you need anything!
  • + 1
 Sending tons of healing vibes, and wishing you a speedy and full recovery! Looking forward to seeing you and Scotty back at 100%.
  • + 1
 Became paralyzed and then used his chin to crawl across the room and dial 911 with his tongue--- So badass. My prayers are with him and his family.
  • + 2
 Holy shit this got me scared, got a spinal fusion from a herniated C5/C6 already. Get well soon!!!
  • + 3
 gotchu!!! Keep the fire burning!
  • + 3
 my thoughts are with you hoping you pull through!
  • + 3
 CHO!, get well soon (heart)
  • + 1
 THIS is scary shit. I got chills just imagining myself alone on the floor trying to reach for help only with my tongue.

Hope the lad will get well somehow... Frown
  • + 4
 Keep fighting Cho!
  • + 3
 Keep pushing, Cho. You got this.
  • + 3
 Kick its ass, man! We're rooting for you
  • + 1
 Wishing you a fast recovery and good health. My thoughts and prayers are with you fellow cyclist!
  • + 2
 donated, hope you make a full recovery
  • + 1
 Donated! Stay positive and think/visualize towards the time when you'll be walking/riding again. You can do it bro!
  • + 1
 Get back on those feet Andrew. Never met you but have always admired you since the WAY WAY back days.
  • + 1
 Damn that really sucks, glad u were able to get help on the way, heal up soon!
  • + 1
 Oh man. Used to ride with Andrew growing up in South Surrey. Horrible news. Get well soon.
  • + 1
 Andrew I don't know you but as a mountain biker and physical therapist keep on keeping on my man. I truly wish you well.
  • + 1
 "often exceed $3 million in a lifetime" -> I was considering moving to Canada, but I think I will stay in Belgium :-)
  • + 3
 Get well soon kiddo
  • + 3
 Keep strong mate.
  • + 2
 Stay strong buddy! We're all pulling for you.
  • + 1
 Keep your head up so one day you can put the rubber side back down. Best wishes.
  • + 2
 Healing thoughts out for you Cho! Let's chip in what we can!
  • + 2
 So sad. I hope a miracle can happen
  • + 2
 Never nice to see news like this. Thoughts are with you Cho.
  • + 2
 Praying for you, brother. May you have a speedy recovery.
  • + 1
 We gotCho back bro!! You got this man!
  • + 1
 I believe in a full recovery! You got this Andrew!
  • + 1
 Healing vibes to you from Montreal, Andrew!!!
  • + 1
 Wow, scary sheit! #wegotchoback
  • + 1
 Praying for you and your family Andrew. Heal up.
  • + 1
 Best wishes mate! Hope you recover soon!!!
  • + 1
 My god this article is sad. Hope you regain strength quickly my friend.
  • + 1
 Keep pushing brother! Keep that inflammation down!
  • + 2
 stay strong !
  • + 2
 We ride for you brother
  • + 1
 scary shit. My thoughts are with you sir
  • + 1
 Healing vibes brother! Stay strong!
  • + 1
 Positive vibes to you my friend. You got this!!
  • + 1
 We never leave a rider behind! Heal up soon, buddy!
  • + 1
 Get well soon brother!
  • + 1
 Heal up bud!
  • + 1
 Good vibes your way man!
  • + 1
 speechless.
  • + 1
 Cho!! Heal up!!
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