Man's cross-country journey ends in tragedy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Man's cross-country journey ends in tragedy

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April 29, 2004

Gainesville, Florida - Two years ago, John Rhodes was walking across the country raising awareness for diabetes. He walked from Miami, Florida all the way to Seattle, Washington. "I had a lot of unusual experiences I will never probably experience again in my life," said Rhodes.

That trip inspired another, and Rhodes set off on a bicycle journey from Miami to Portland, Maine. "I just didn't feel comfortable sitting at home anymore," said Rhodes.

But in South Carolina, his trip was tragically cut short. "The seat of my pants was hooked to his front bumper, and the car ran over my right leg and it was nearly amputated," said Rhodes.

He was hit by a drunk driver. Now he can barely stand and uses a wheelchair. "Emotionally what it does to you is terrible, I'm so scared of dying now," said Rhodes.

Rhodes will undergo his third surgery May 13th. Doctors will graft the bones in his leg in hopes that he will walk again. "My doctor believes there's a 60 percent chance this could be a success," said Rhodes.

But even after all the problems caused by the accident, he says he wouldn't trade a moment of his travels. "If I had to give my right and left legs up to go do it again, even knowing I'd have the accident, I would do it in a minute to experience everything I did again," said Rhodes. "Its a feeling you can get no other way, going out and doing an unselfish act for others."

A feeling that outweighs the pain he lives with every day.

posted at 3:10 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com