PHOENIX, Ariz. — Ray Spooner, the terminally ill nurse midwife making a bike ride across America, has been injured in an accident in Phoenix, according to an update he posted today on his blog entitled Ray's Little Ride.
The 56-year-old Spooner, who retired from the Carle health system this past August with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, was less than a full week into his coast-to-coast fund-raising and awareness ride for the Muscular Dystrophy Association when he was injured and taken to John C. Lincoln Medical Center Thursday.
He had been cruising along at 25 miles an hour and felt great, he wrote, "and for the first time ever the thought that I might actually be able to pull this off popped into my mind."
What happened, he wrote: "I got too close to a curb while looking around and just went over it. On the other side of the curb there was gravel as far as the eye could see in both directions. Except for one 10 foot section of large rocks. It happened very quickly, but as I went over the bike, the irony of where I was about to fall still had time to register."
Spooner, who couldn't be reached by phone, wrote he was taken to the hospital by ambulance and learned he has three fractured vertebrae, three fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, a fractured humerus and concussion. What this means for the rest of his ride remains to be determined, he also wrote.
Spooner set out on the ride from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla. with his wife, Rae, and a group of friends and a goal of raising $50,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He has raised $42,226, according to his website.
An experienced longtime cyclist and one of the rare men to make his career as a nurse midwife, Spooner delivered more than 2,000 babies and worked for Carle for 23 years before effects of ALS, a progressive and fatal motor neuron disease, forced him to retire. He set out on the ride across America as one of the few last things he wanted to do with his life, he said.