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Our journey through life is filled with potholes, detours and roadblocks. How you get through those obstacles is what builds strength and character. To find inspiration when struggling through those challenging times, you need to look no further than to the journey of Jared Fenstermacher.

On Saturday, the 35-year-old Fenstermacher arrived in Ocean City, his final stop on his cross-country cycling trip. What makes this final stop so remarkable is that his cycling trip began on Aug. 11, 2016.

On that day in 2016, Fenstermacher began his personal quest to cycle cross-country from Oregon. His mission was to raise money for the For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation (FPS).

Eighteen days into a 30-day bicycle trip, Fenstermacher hit an unforeseeable roadblock.

His ride ended tragically in Hinton, Iowa. There, he was struck by a truck traveling at highway speed. He was paralyzed from a spinal cord injury, broke both humeri in his biceps and suffered from a concussion.

He spent nearly a month at MercyOne Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, and then was transferred to a rehabilitation center for another six weeks.

One month ago, in spite of his injuries, which brought additional challenges, Fenstermacher began cycling the 1,200 miles he had left from his 2016 ride. The life-altering roadblock he hit in 2016 now appeared to be just a detour.

With his bicycle now powered by his hands, not his feet, his commitment to himself and to FPS was stronger than ever. He began this second leg with what many consider a feat of unimaginable strength.

The second leg of his cycling ride began in Hilton, Iowa, where his accident happened. He then rode through Cedar Rapids and Davenport, Iowa, to Chicago, South Bend, Ind., Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and finally Ocean City.

After a stop at the Welcome Center on the Rt. 52 Causeway, Fenstermacher was escorted by Ocean City police and fire vehicles as cheering residents and visitors lined his route from Ninth Street to the Music Pier.

Waiting at the Music Pier for Fenstermacher’s arrival, Mayor Jay Gillian said, “We are just excited for him to get here. Heroes, like Jared, have given so much to help others and cancer patients.”


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