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Man paralyzed in motorbike crash determined to ride again, encourage others

Posted at 5:06 PM, Aug 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-25 19:37:01-04

HOPEWELL, Va. -- A Hopewell man is proving no pothole now matter its size can slow him down. Whether on four wheels or two, Tony Pitcock can’t stop moving.

“An object in motion stays in motion right? Racing has been my entire life,” said Pitcock, who has been riding motorbikes since the age of nine.

The man with a need for speed from Hopewell was paralyzed during a motorbike crash last December.

“The first month at home from the hospital was a dark place for me,” explained Pitcock. “There were times I didn’t want to live.”

Tony Pitcock

Tony Pitcock

Doctors say Tony has only a one percent chance of walking again.

“I have no feeling or function from the sternum on down which is kind of strange,” he said.

Tony’s body may have been crushed, but not his spirit.

“Life goes on and it can be better than it was,” Pitcock said of his future.

Pitcock

The 50-year-old regularly visits fellow spinal cord injury victims and provides words of encouragement.

“It is important for me to let people know that it is going to be a great day,” said Pitcock.

For Tony, this is not the first life-altering obstacle he has overcome.

On March 31, 1994 Tony was involved in an explosion at Reynolds Metals. His colleague died in the explosion.

“Eighty percent of my body was burned and I spent a month at MCV,” Pitcock recalled.

Doctors gave the Hopewell man a slim chance of living, but he would not be denied.

“He tries as hard as he can. He is a champion and a fighter. He always wants to win,” said Pitcock’s girlfriend, Martha Lenahan.

Soon after the 1994 explosion, Pitcock was back on his bike racing all while visiting and encouraging fellow burn victims.

“It just inspires them to know that if he can do it they can do it,” said his sister, Martin.

Family and friends say Pitcock’s optimism is nothing short of infectious.

“A lesser person probably wouldn’t be sitting here,” said friend Michael Woody. “Everyone that knows him, knows that.”

Pitcock considers his latest medical malady just another pothole as he rolls through life with his can do attitude.

“I had to adjust and keep going,” he said. “Like I said, I try to take something good out of something that is bad. And so far, something good has come out of everything that is bad.”

Despite the long odds of Tony Pitcock walking again, the 50-year-old said he will one day climb back on a motorcycle, even if it has to be modified to accommodate his disability.

Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.

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