This archived article was written by: Karli Morris
Kris Sanford, Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah Alumni, appeared before the state legislature regarding budget cuts of specialized programs for people with disabilities; people using wheel chairs and blind people on Thursday, Feb. 2 . These special programs include assistive technology (mobility devices and special hardware and software), vocational rehab (tuition for school that will lead to finding a career) as well as a debate to stop funding for assistants and pay to have these people put in nursing homes instead.
Sanford’s interest in people with disabilities stems from his accident three years ago where he broke two vertebrae, leaving him in a wheel chair.
Sanford estimated the annual price differential at approximately $35,000 with the cost of an assistant at $22,000 and the cost of a nursing home at $57,000; making this an illogical choice. Along with Sanford, staff of the Tri-County Independent Living Center, vocational rehab, assistive technology and other people who benefit from these programs made their way to the legislature.
Sanford is not letting these possible budget cuts get him down. He is on the road to breaking a world record. He wishes to break the world record of longest ride on an arm bike. An arm bike is a bike where someone without the use of their legs would instead use their hands to turn pedals. The current record is from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas.
His goal is to ride from Idaho Falls to Las Vegas. He is fund raising to get funds necessary to begin his journey.
The ride will cost $13,000. “I think it’s going to be a good way to be able to tell people that once you’re down you can push through it and stay positive in order to get through things,” he says.
Sanford attended CEU for two semesters before the truck roll over accident. He was riding in the passenger side and was ejected through the back window on the driver’s side because he was not wearing his seatbelt.
Sanford broke his C4 and C5 vertebra and was hospitalized for three months. He had little movement in his arms, fingers and toes and later no movement and a pressure sensation everywhere.
He now undergoes constant physical therapy and participates in sports such as bobsledding, arm cycling, paragliding and swimming.
Sanford visits hospitals to speak to recent spinal cord injury patients and comfort them, as well as an occasional motivational speaking engagement. He has also started a rock chip repair business and trained a service dog.