‘God gave me a second life.’: Cross country bicyclist recovering after being hit by car in ND
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) - One man’s mission to bike across the country to raise awareness of the political unrest and dangers in Hong Kong has been put on hold after he was the victim in a near fatal accident in Pembina County.
It happened just after 8 p.m. on September 20 near St. Thomas on Highway 66 when Alex Lee was hit from behind on his bicycle by a pickup truck. North Dakota Highway Patrol says the driver of the pickup was cited for failure to maintain control, and says further charges have been forwarded to the Pembina County Attorney’s Office for consideration.
Lee’s trek across the country began late this summer as he started in California before heading east.
“Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, then Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, then North Dakota,” he said.
Lee said he made his way through Mandan and Bottineau and was on his way to Grand Forks on September 20 when the accident happened. NDHP says Lee and the pickup driver were heading east with Lee on the shoulder. Officials say the shoulder became muddy at one point due to a beet pile near the road which caused Lee to veer a bit more into the road, which is when the driver hit Lee.
“I didn’t realize what happened!” Lee said.
Lee has little to no memory of the accident or the two weeks after as he spent them in the intensive care unit at Altru in Grand Forks. Lee says doctors were forced to remove his spleen, and triage his heart’s broken atrium. In a Facebook post he said, ‘I lost my spleen, some teeth, bicycle, gears, documents, clothes, and a little bit cash, my pancreas was inflamed, my atrium was broken, my eyesight got worse than before. My power banks, iPhone, water bottles were damaged, I got shortness of my breath all the time.’
“The doctor told me he didn’t even know if I could wake up or not,” Lee said.
Lee has since been moved down the street to the Sunshine Hospitality Home where he’s received both speech and physical therapy while continuing to let his body heal.
“I feel very grateful. I feel very grateful. God gave me a second life,” he smiled.
Lee says he wants to thank the people of Grand Forks for the abundance of prayers, food and support he’s received in the last month he’s been here. He says he’s never experienced a community like this.
“There’s a lot of good people in Grand Forks and in North Dakota,” Lee said.
Lee asks those in the Valley to pay attention to what’s happening in his home country and to get involved when and where you can to help out those impacted. He says he plans to take that message back on the road with him as soon as he’s healed.
“I don’t fear and I’m not scared to embark on my trip again. I just want to achieve my goal and finish my mission,” he said.
Lee says says his time in North Dakota is almost over as he’s set to fly to Utah next week to continue recovering with family friends. To follow Lee’s journeys on Facebook, click here.
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