Stroke survivor inspiring others to get back on their bike again

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

They gear up, ready to roll every Tuesday morning in Tempe. But this group of bike riders doesn't care who has the fastest time.

They're already winners who've overcome a life threatening illness.

"When I first had my stroke I was in a wheelchair a lot," said stroke survivor Mary Carol Jackson. "Now I use my cane and I'm out and about. This has helped me so much."

Dan Zimmerman suffered a stroke 12 years ago that left him unable to speak for a while and severely limited his mobility.

"My right arm and hand, I move it, but not well to grab anything," said Zimmerman.

But instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for himself, Zimmerman pushed himself to improve his recovery and improve his life.

The former cabinet maker found that riding a recumbent bike or trike, dramatically improved his condition.

"It helped me walking and talking and get my confidence back," said Zimmerman.

It made such a difference that Zimmerman started Spokes Fighting Strokes, a non profit organization devoted to helping others speed up their recovery through cycling.

Using much of his own money and the help of donations, Zimmerman has collected an assortment of trikes that he lends out to stroke survivors across the Valley, free of charge.

They go on rides every week.

Cindy Bluhm with Seniors Helping Seniors has seen what a difference Spokes Fighting Strokes is having on patients, so she reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Zimmerman.

 "It's unbelievable," said Bluhm. "These are people who would stay at home, go to physical therapy, go home, sit in the house and gain weight . Dan has got these people out here riding bikes and socializing out in the sunshine."

A CBS 5 news crew was there when Bluhm presented Zimmerman with $500 before one of his rides.

"These people come out here every week to ride with you and you provide the bikes and helmets and do the ride do everything for free," said Bluhm. "We just want you to know how happy we are that you do this. On behalf of Channel 5 and everyone that supports you, Channel 5 is giving you $500 towards your expenses for bikes and everything you do for everyone."

"I want to show people not give up," said Zimmerman.

For more donate and find information about the cycling non-profit group visit

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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