Miles for Miracles: Jimmy Button’s Race Across America, Part 2 | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Miles for Miracles: Jimmy Button’s Race Across America, Part 2

February 25, 2011

Must See Action Sports Videos

Eleven years ago Jimmy Button became paralyzed following a motocross training accident. [Click here to read Part 1, which shares the full story.] Docs told him he'd never recover movement below his neck. Bad call. Button is currently in week one of a two-month charity bike race across America, dubbed “Miles for Miracles.”

Before he could ride, Button had to start back at the beginning. Months after his life-changing accident, he began to regain feeling in his fingertips. “That was the beginning of the journey,” he says. "But after getting paralyzed, I had to relearn everything."

Jimmy had to learn how to stand up, walk, eat and do everything else most of us take for granted. “My rehab professionals had to teach me the basics that you learn as an infant,” Button says. “I’m 6’4” and there were a lot of terrifying things to learn, especially how to fall.”

Button’s rehab started slowly, but the ex-racer pushed the limits every day. His first task was to learn how to stand. “I held myself up for two seconds and that’s all I could do,” he recalls. “Every day I would push myself to do more. I’d double what I did the day before from two to four, and so on ... continuing that progress until I was able to take my first steps a couple months later.”

Button’s motivation was to race motocross again.  But nine months into rehab, it became apparent that this would never happen. “Once I got to the point where I could walk on my own, drive a car and take care of myself, I started to get tired of it all," Button explains. "The constant rehab started to drain me. It wasn’t till then that I realized my life [had] completely changed.”

It took three years for Jimmy to recover from his paralysis, and another seven to come up with a new mission:  to raise awareness of and support for spinal cord research. Button says, “After watching a 60 Minutes special on Dr. Hans Keirstead’s development of spinal cord treatments, I thought, 'What could I do to help this cause, which affected my life?' To get people's attention, you have to do something astonishing—like ride a bike across America.”

Unable to ride 15 minutes on a stationary bike, Button turned to motocross trainer and riding partner Cory Worf for help. “I knew if I stayed true to a program and worked out hard, without losing focus, I could do this,” Button says. “I started hitting the gym twice a week just focusing on overall strength, while riding 30 to 40 miles a day on my spin bike.”

Button's first ride outdoors came in August, when he was finally strong enough to balance himself. “That was five months ago," he says. "Now we’ll be doing pretty long rides throughout this two-month race."

Averaging 60 miles a day, Button and Worf are traveling across the country on their Sette road bikes. Raising money and awareness for spinal cord research may be his main priority, but Button also hopes to motivate others recovering from spinal cord paralysis. “Hopefully I can give them a little motivation to fight hard,” he says. “Look at me; it’s taken 11 years to get to this point. The light at the end of the tunnel may be dim, but there’s definitely something shining. You just have to work hard to get it.”

Follow Button’s twitter @BTNFLY to stay up to date on his ride across America. To donate to his cause, head to milesformiraclestoday.com.

Photos:  bnqt.com

Matt Siracusa
Matt Siracusa
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Athletes Join the Cause for National Bullying Prevention Month

The Secret to Tim Howard's Success

My Day With the King of the NBA D-League, Ron Howard

Meet the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game MVP, Candace Parker

Fearless Femme: Pro Freeskier Roz G

Steve McCann Talks Mongoose Jam and BMX

Featured STACKlete: Brandon Petty

(Almost) Nothing Can Stop Adrian Peterson

Brian Deegan: Training to Be Indestructible

Mia Hamm Rewrites the Record Books to #WINFROMWITHIN

Jeris Pendleton's Tough Journey to the NFL

Meet Ricky Johnson, Red Bull Frozen Rush Champion

Sochi Athletes Speak: Dominique Maltais, Canadian Snowboarder

On the Board With Paul Rodriguez

Fearless Femme: Freeskier Angeli Vanlaanen

Go Harder With MIPS Helmet Technology

How Skylar Diggins Became the Future of the WNBA

Watch Shaun White's Perfect Snowboard Superpipe Run

WATCH: The Touchdown of the Year

Joe Mauer

WATCH: The Most Breathtaking Mountain Bike Video Ever

Nike and Pushead Team Up for Specimen Collection

Larry Fitzgerald: 'You Can

Off the Waves With Pro Surfer Carissa Moore

James Harden's Journey From Sixth Man to Franchise Player

Lessons From a Great Runner: 5 Keys to Realizing Your Dreams

Training to Hit the Slopes With Ellery Hollingsworth

Secrets of the World

Fearless Femme: Pro Mountain Biker Georgia Gould

What Makes Richard Sherman Tick

WATCH: The Toughest 5 Days In High School Girls

Amazing 6-Year-Old Surfer Girl Will Brighten Your Day

Tune Up Your Half-Pipe With Advice From Louie Vito

Exercises to Prepare Your Muscles for Winter Sports

Interview: Lauren Embree on Becoming a Pro Tennis Player

Colin Kaepernick: A Determined Man

Walk the Line: The Art of Slacklining

Nike SB: The Bird Is The Word 2010 European Demo Tour

The Secrets Behind RGIII's Rise to Stardom

Wingsuit Flyers Soar Over Manhattan

Prepare to Be Inspired by One-Legged Soccer Player Nico Calabria

Surf's Up With New Rip Curl Search GPS Surf Watch

Speed Climbing Looks Awesome and Insanely Dangerous

The Athlete's Guide to the Slopes

Red Bull X Fighters Defy Gravity in SoCal

In Memoriam: Sarah Burke, 1982-2012

WATCH: Armless Man Throws First Pitch

Sochi Athletes Speak: Shaun White, U.S. Snowboarder

Sochi Athletes Speak: Billy Demong, U.S. Nordic Skier

Meet the Real Gang Behind DeSean Jackson

Ben Snowden

Kelly Clark: Strong Enough to Fly

Update: GoPro HD Hero3 Black

Nike 6.0 "Leave A Message" Movie Trailer

Hawaii Sanctions Surfing As Official High School Sport

6 Powerful Women in Men