The last time Jimmy Button exited San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, he was in an ambulance, strapped to a stretcher and paralyzed from the neck down after a horrific motocross accident during practice. With a bruised spinal cord at his second and third vertebrae, Button was told he would likely never walk -- let alone ride -- again.
The next time Jimmy Button exits San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, he will do so via the power of his now-working legs, pedaling a bicycle and kick-starting a cross-country quest to raise awareness for spinal cord injuries and help those who can no longer help themselves.
It's an inspiring story worthy of at least a few tears. A former motocross champion cut down in his prime, Button has feverishly rehabbed his way back, and started Miles for Miracles to bring hope to victims.
"Knowing what it's like to be trapped -- your mind is working fine but you're trapped inside this body that won't listen to you. It's like you're locked in a straitjacket and a prison all at once," Button said. "It's the most surreal, terrible thing I've ever had to experience. For me being affected the way I was, I just wanted to do something to contribute and help out. I felt compelled to do something to try to make a little difference."
Along with trainer Cory Worf and a team, Button will cycle 2,428 miles from San Diego to Daytona Beach, Fla. over nearly two months in the hopes of raising $1 million. He got the idea from a "60 Minutes" show on spinal cord research, and began training nearly a year ago on an indoor stationary bike. The first time Button began riding, he lasted somewhere around 12 minutes, but worked his way up until he was able to ride outside in August 2010.