Whether he is being pelted by snow and rain or enduring the extreme desert heat, Bob Quick will not stop. He claims he can’t and won’t until he raises $1 million.
McKay-Dee Cardiology, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Roy City Fire Department, Primary Children’s Hospital and Special Olympics Utah are the five different charities that will benefit from Quick’s million-dollar ride, while he will take nothing for himself.
After enduring two heart attacks and more than 17 heart surgeries to save his life, Quick finally had a pacemaker/defibrillator installed on April 4 and resumed training for the ride of his life, which began in January of this year.
Quick said he won’t let his emergency room past haunt him.
“If you sit and dwell on the pain, then your brain starts to say, ‘No, I hurt, so I can’t do this or I can’t do that’. I just don’t think that . . . I’m absolutely, utterly blessed.”
Quick, if he succeeds, will be the first man with his condition to ride a bike from the West Coast to the East Coast in 11-12 weeks. He will leave San Diego, Calif., for St. Augustine, Fla., on Sept. 2, no small feat for a man with 16 stints in his heart, working at a third of its normal capacity.
“I just stay positive; that’s how you’ve got to live life,” Quick said. “You believe in yourself and you can do anything. That’s my favorite saying: If you don’t believe, you’re a fool.”
Sybil Quick, Bob’s daughter and a biology freshman at Weber State University, said her father’s story is an inspiration to her. Sybil has stood at his side for every heart operation, and before he had the pacemaker placed, he died on the table.
“He didn’t want a machine in him, but I signed that piece of paper,” Sybil said. “And they brought him back to life. He was dead for about three minutes.”
Sybil said hospitals have lined Quick up to receive a heart transplant, but he has denied one over and over.
“He simply feels that the heart can go to a little child who hasn’t lived life,” Sybil said. “And he’s lived a full life in his eyes. And he doesn’t think that taking a life from another person is respectable at all.”
Tiffany Henderickson, a freshman studying nursing and a family friend of the Quicks, said she is confident that Quick will be able to make the journey.
“I know he will, because he’ll press himself,” Sybil said. “But there’s always that 50/50 chance that something could happen to his heart, because he only has a third of it. So I am a bit worried because of the condition that he is in.”
However, Sybil said she believes he can make it.
“I am very worried as a daughter, because I can lose my dad at any moment,” she said. “That’s how the statistics are; there’s no stopping that.”
But there’s also no stopping Quick, Henderickson said.
“When he’s got something set, he’s going to do it . . .,” she said.
The Roy City Fire Department has been with Quick since his first heart attack in 2004. Ever since then, Quick has been cooking meals for the fire department and has forged a strong relationship with the firefighters and EMTs who saved his life.
“They’ve been on this wonderful journey with me for nine years,” Quick said. “They’ve went on many calls with me over the years.”
The Roy City Fire Department arranged for different fire stations to house and feed Quick along his journey. Every three or four days on his ride, Quick will stop at these fire stations to get assessment tests done.
“As I tell people, there is no ‘I’ in team. This is a team effort,” Quick said. “I am truly blessed. I have a wonderful family, and of course wonderful friends, and I don’t know what I would do without my sponsors.”
Much of the equipment Quick will use on his trip was donated or paid for by employees of local companies. Everything from the tents he will sleep in to the bike racks and rain gear is covered by sponsorship. Thirty-two sponsors are assisting Quick in his journey, all of which are found on his website.
“He’ll be back right before the holidays,” Henderickson said. “Every 20 miles and 50 miles along the whole trip, they’ve got it set up at fire stations so they have a place to eat, sleep, take a shower.”
Quick isn’t making the journey alone. His son Conrad Quick will be riding by his side for all 3,070 miles of the Southern Tier Bicycle Route. This will take them through eight states. The Quicks plan on traveling 50 miles, usually at night when the heat isn’t as intense.
“I don’t know what I’d do without (Conrad),” Quick said. “He is my life-support system right now.”
Quick and his son will be pulling more than 400 pounds of gear and supplies on their bike trailers.
According to Megan Pratt, Quick’s media relations manager, Quick will do a video blog as often as possible. She said his Facebook and YouTube pages are good places to keep in touch with him. Donations can also be made directly through his Facebook page.
“Bob is determined. Nothing is going to stop Bob,” Pratt said. “He said to me, ‘If I don’t raise the money by the time I get to St. Augustine, Fla., then I am not getting off my bike until I raise that million dollars.”
Pratt said Quick wants to be seen as an example.
“Even with 16 stints and a pacemaker in his heart, he is able to ride his bike and lift weights; he is very in shape, she said. “He wants to be seen as an inspiration to get people off the couch and be healthy.”
At Buffalo Wild Wings, during Bob and Conrad Quick’s journey, 10 percent of the bill will be donated if “Bob Quick’s journey” is mentioned to the server. Donations can also be made on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bobquicksjourney and his website, www.bobquicksjourney.com.