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Up On Two Wheels with Jamie Schanbaum

August 5, 2010

I was contacted recently by Aaron Foreman, the founder of Orthotic Prosthetic Technologies, regarding a young woman named Jamie Shanbaum.  It seems that Jamie has a burning desire to ride a bike, something that we help many people accomplish every day, but Jamie has a special challenge that has made cycling much more difficult than it is for most.  Jamie’s unique challenge is that both of her legs and a large part of each of her hands have been amputated.

In November of 2008, Jamie was your average college student until she contracted meningococcal septicemia — a form of meningitis. Meningitis, a life threatening bacteria, causes the body to cut off circulation to its extremities as a protective mechanism in order to save vital organs. While the trials Jaime has faced since contracting meningitis have been great,  St. David’s Doctor Juan Latorre, the doctor in charge of Jamie’s therapy, had this to say in a recent interview with FOX, “She was extremely motivated and just looking toward the future, not focusing on what she lost, but what she can still do despite her disability,”

I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie for the first time on June 21st. We were sitting down to discuss the possibility of riding a bike. Aaron was in the process of working on some cycling legs, but was concerned about Jamie’s ability to control the bike. For you and me, shifting and braking may seem like second nature, but for Jamie this would present a challenge. Most of Jamie’s hands were amputated due to the meningitis, inhibiting her ability to squeeze a break lever or operate the shift levers common to a road or hybrid bike.

Jamie Schanbaum bike fit

Jamie’s positive “I’m going to do this” attitude is infectious. I was immediately inspired to make this work and Bicycle Sport Shop agreed to donate the bike and equipment to make Jamie’s dream a reality. We pulled a few bikes from the floor until Jamie decided on a steel, cherry-red Specialized Allez  (which she has since named Lady Maybelline after the Chuck Berry tune).  In order to adapt the bike for Jamie’s needs I recruited the help of master mechanic Tim Keating from our service department. Two brainstorming sessions later we had the 1st test bike ready for Jamie to take home.

With the help of Aaron Foreman and her cycling coach, Sean Ahmadi, Jamie will soon be riding again. “The first step will be working on general fitness. Jamie needs to build strength in her abs and hips first. At the same time we will focus on building her pedaling efficiency with her prosthetics” stated Sean.

After they build upon Jamie’s base she will increase the intensity of her indoor trainer workouts as she prepares to ride outside. “Her goal is to be ready for the Livestrong Challenge in October. We have a lot of work to do both indoors and out. Jamie’s bike has been modified to help her, but she will surely have some challenges along the way”.  I checked with Jamie to see how things where going, she said “My baby abs are feeling it. Sean is great and I can’t wait to be riding [on the road] again.”

For more information about Jamie or the Jamie Shanbaum Act visit her blog or follow her on Facebook.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris Kuhn permalink
    August 5, 2010 7:20 pm

    Truly inspiring, what a remarkable young woman.

  2. Sonia permalink
    August 5, 2010 9:53 pm

    Thanks to the entire team who is working with Jaime to make her dream a reality. Wishing you all the best and cheering for you Jaime!! Can’t wait to see you on the course 🙂

  3. Denny McAfee permalink
    August 8, 2010 8:15 pm

    We’ll see you on the road, soon!

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