Hoopfest Athlete Sets Sights Higher

SPOKANE — One man at this year’s Hoopfest is not letting anything get in his way, on the court, or in life.

Eight years ago Jake Vernon was in a car accident and woke up as a quadriplegic. One day through training and meditation, his life changed forever.

“I regained the use of my arms and my hands by the grace of God. He kept me sitting down for one reason, to keep looking up so I can help someone else one day just maybe walk one more time,” Vernon said.

Since regaining movement in his arms, Vernon has been on a mission, showing people that a wheelchair can’t slow him down.

“Anything you can do walking, I can do sitting down,” Vernon said. “You want to climb a tree, I can, you want to go skydiving I can, my thing is I want to go fishing one more time. I don’t want to drag my wheelchair, and I don’t want to drag anything else. I just want to walk over the hill and not have to worry about it.”

If you don’t believe Vernon when he says he can do anything, he has big plans for next summer.

“I want to push my wheelchair 2,671 miles across route 66 from Santa Monica, California to Washington, D.C.,” Vernon said. “Ninety days coast to coast, 33 miles a day, it will take me 82 days. I’m just saying 90 days in case I break something.”

Vernon will begin his cross-country adventure June 18th 2009, nine years to the day of his accident, and he’s doing it to help others.

“I’m trying to raise awareness about people with disabilities and how we …. together can make a better place for someone else,” Vernon said.

If you would like to donate, help or sponsor Vernon, or participate in any fundraisers to support his push across America, you can e-mail walk2009@yahoo.com.