An avid bicyclist from St. Cloud who was paralyzed in an accident in June died Thursday.
John Egbers, 64, was participating in the Trans Am Bike Race – which starts in Oregon and ends in Virginia– in mid-June when he was hit by a car from behind. The accident left Egbers paralyzed from the chest down – a injury that the veteran of the U.S. Air Force vowed was temporary when he told his wife: "I am going to ride my bike again."
"We are heartbroken to share today's update and have stumbled to move through tears and find the appropriate words. John's heart stopped beating today," says an update on Egber's CaringBridge page.
"His medical team made every effort to restore his heart beat, as they have grown to love John too. Unfortunately, John's life story ends today. But wherever his next ride takes him, we find comfort in knowing he is pedaling his ass off and happy to be free."
Egbers was a popular member of the St. Cloud biking community. He worked part-time at Revolution Cycle and Ski, which was selling "Java John" coffee and wristbands to raise money for his family, in addition to planning a July 15 fundraiser at Beaver Island Brewing in St. Cloud.
Despite critical injuries and a grim prognosis, Egbers was determined to fully recover.
"He bravely asked if he was paralyzed forever," his wife, Susan, wrote on a GoFundMe page for her husband. "There is no real answer for that right now. He was told everyone heals differently, and with time and rehabilitation we will know.
"He replied, 'I feel I am going to recover'."
An update posted to his GoFundMe page Thursday night described Egbers as a beacon of love and kindness.
"John was exemplary in life, one that I think we could all be inspired by. He looked at the big picture - what is important verses what is temporary; the good of the whole verses the selfishness of the immediate. He loved his family relentlessly and cared for others constantly. He gave back to his community and was graciously kind. If you take anything away from this post, may it be to live life fuller by being kinder, dedicated to the things that truly matter. Life is short for each one of us. Live with integrity and you'll never waste a single day."
The GoFundMe for Egbers has, so far, raised more than $31,000.