COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Thousands of cyclists took to the streets of central Ohio this weekend for Pelotonia’s summer ride for cancer research.
Two riders with limb differences took part in the ride for the first time thanks to newly developed technology from a local non-profit called Form5 Prosthetics.
They said by sharing their journey, they hope to inspire others with limb differences to believe anything is possible.
“Pelotonia,” said Jodie Pierpoint. “My friends always rode in Pelotonia, so I was always at the finish line cheering them on and stuff.”
But this year, Pierpoint wanted to ride, so she asked her friend Aaron Westbrook if his non-profit organization could possibly develop a bike arm prosthesis.
“So I told him, I said, ‘That would be my dream someday, to ride in Pelotonia with everyone else,’ so he’s like, ‘Let’s make it happen,’” Pierpoint said.
As the founder of Form5 Prosthetics, Westbrook was born with a similar limb difference to Pierpoint. He not only wanted to turn her dream into a reality, but he also decided to join her on the mission to ride in Pelotonia.
“Last time I was on my bike, I was probably 10 or 11 years old, but it was just riding around my neighborhood, and it was really hard riding with one hand because I was, like, leaning over and it hurt my shoulder,” Westbrook said. “So knowing that I was going to be riding a great distance, I knew I was going to need some additional help.”
Over the course of the last year, Westbrook worked alongside engineers, designers, and medical teams to turn their idea into a prosthetic.
“Jodie was actually our first recipient to receive our bike arm prosthesis, and we’re really, really excited about the opportunity today to put it to use and ride our 20 miles,” Westbrook said.
Pierpoint’s bike arm was specifically designed to fit her with 360 degrees of motion.
“And it’s wonderful because I’m able to, you know, when going up a hill, I can push up a hill, or coasting, I can go down, so I have that full range of motion as you would when you’re using your arms and hands,” she said.
Pierpoint teaches students with learning disabilities, so she hope to inspire and empower other individuals with limb differences to pursue any type of sport or activity.
“Anything is possible and I think this proves to people that anything is possible,” she said.
Westbrook is currently a senior at the Ohio State University and Pierpoint is also an OSU graduate, so the two cycled with Team Buckeye Student Riders. Both said that while it was hot this weekend, it was definitely fun to cycle longer than they ever have before.
Pelotonia began in 2008 as a two-day bike ride in Columbus to raise funds for cancer research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – The James. Learn more about Pelotonia by clicking here.
For more on Form5 Prosthetics, click here.