Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 16th, 2011 at 8:56 am
before he could thank the people
who saved his life.
(Screen grab from KOIN-TV)
It might sound trite, but Jim Phillips truly is lucky to be alive. Jim, 68, was on the Pioneer Century ride this past summer, enjoying a perfect day in the saddle, when he crashed hard on a steep downhill.
The crash broke Jim’s ribs, neck and back. His lungs were punctured which led to severe internal hemorrhaging. He cried out for help, in “agonizing” pain, from far down in a ditch. But no one heard him. It wasn’t until he pulled himself to the side of the road that he finally got some attention. The four people that stopped to help him couldn’ have known it at the time, but their actions very likely saved Jim’s life..
“Without you two and the biking community/extended family this reunion would not have taken place. That would have left a terrible void and desperate need in my life.”
Eventually, Jim was LifeFlighted to the hospital for his injuries (the crash occurred in a very rural area). Doctors said he would have died had he not gotten such capable and quick help.
Now on the mend, Phillips wanted to thank his rescuers but he never learned (or couldn’t remember) their names. He even went on KOIN-TV earlier this month in hopes they’d come forward. Well, eventually the people who saved Jim’s life did come forward and he finally got to thank them.
For this edition of Positive Spin, I got Jim’s permission to share an email about his ordeal that he sent to the ride organizers earlier this month:
the Pioneer Century.
(Photo © BikePortland)
“Several weeks ago I had a chance to speak with the guy that made the 911 call. He was excited to hear how things turned out for me as I was to tell him how much I appreciated him stopping to help out. That call made me even more anxious to locate the others I needed to thank.
I will never forget the phone call I got last Thursday when the fellow on the other end of the line said “I’m Luke Stevenson. I’m the guy who held your head”. It was an emotional moment for me. For over 6 months I have wanted to personally thank the 4 original people who came to my rescue. They were the lady who heard my yes to her “do you need help” question, then the two guys who came back up to me after I heard her yell “we need to go back up there that guy needs help” and lastly the lady whose son was a rider and she gave my cycling buddy, his bike and my bike a lift back to the fair grounds. Of course one of those two guys turned out to be Luke.
When he took my head in his hands and told me to not move and that he was in control of my head, I felt a calm come over me that was sustained through out the long wait for the ambulance. He had a very reassuring voice and did an amazing job of distracting me from the pain by asking me a long list of questions. After meeting him in person, it just confirmed what a calm, confident and competent person he is.
Without you two and the biking community/extended family this reunion would not have taken place. That would have left a terrible void and desperate need in my life. I expressed this on camera but unfortunately it did not make it to TV. At the same time I am glad to have the opportunity to express this on a more personal level…
As you might imagine there are even more cyclists to thank. Those that rode back up the hill to call 911 since we were in a cell phone shadow, and those who took on traffic control for the downhill and uphill traffic. Once again proving it takes a community.
One of the things I have said is that I have encountered angels in all this.They are the ones that unselfishly provided help above and beyond. You two are the latest of the angels I have met.
Have a happy holiday season. I already have.
Jim told me last night that he’s feeling much better these days. He’s still doing physical therapy for his neck, which he says may, “very well may not get back to where it was but if that is the only lasting affect then I feel very very lucky.”
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