Champion handcyclist Matt Updike of Denver, Colorado, who this summer won a 2012 Paralympic gold medal in London, will share his inspirational story on Thursday, October 11 at 6 p.m. at the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing, 29 Lowell Street in Lewiston.
Updike was injured in an automobile accident in 1997, which left him paralyzed from the chest down. An avid skier and cyclist prior to the accident, he gradually made his way back into his two passions and began handcycling professionally in 2000. At this event, he will discuss the difficult challenges he faced and how he was able to overcome them. Updike joins eight other professional cyclists participating in the fourth annual Dempsey Challenge on October 13 and 14 in Lewiston.
“I am honored to be invited to participate in an event like the Dempsey Challenge,” said Updike. “Having to overcome a huge adversity in my own life when I was paralyzed, I feel I can relate somewhat to someone receiving the diagnosis of cancer. And with two close friends passing at an early age recently because of the disease, I want to support the fight against it any way I can.”
Updike earned a bronze medal at the 2002 IPC Cycling World Championships in Germany and has been a regular on the U.S. National team for the past decade. In 2005, he broke the 24-hour distance world record, handcycling over 287 miles through the Dutch countryside in the process. He competed in his first Paralympic Games in Beijing, China in 2008.
In 2011, Updike took first place at the U.S. Paralympic Road Cycling National Championships in Augusta, GA and earned a silver medal at the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. He most recently won a gold medal in the mixed-team relay for handcycling at the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Updike is sponsored by Hincapie Sportswear and works as a mortgage banker for Universal Lending Corp. in Denver. He also volunteers at Craig Hospital, where he helps kids get started in Paralympic cycling.
This event is free and open to the public; those wishing to attend can register by calling the Dempsey Center at 795-8250 or at www.dempseycenter.org/register.
Champion handcyclist and Dempsey Challenge participant Matt Updike. (Photo courtesy of Peter Wayne Photography.)