New bike, new challenge for surfing-injury survivor Addie Killam


That’s Addie Killam of Highland Park, getting ready to ride her new hand-operated bike along Alki this morning. If Addie’s name sounds familiar but you just can’t quite place it – we first told you about her in this April report, when news came that she had become paralyzed after a freak surfing injury. Later, friends, family, neighbors, and WSB’ers worked to help fix up a house so she could come home to West Seattle this past June after weeks of rehab in a Colorado hospital. Now, Addie’s in training for a special Mike Utley Foundation fundraising ride coming up in about a month. Along the Alki bike path, we talked to her for a moment before her training ride this morning:

The Mike Utley Foundation raises money “to find a cure for paralysis”; Utley’s story is detailed here — he is a Seattle native who was a football star at Burien’s John F. Kennedy High School and then at WSU, followed by two years in the NFL, till the injury that paralyzed him in 1991. He underwent rehab at the same place in Craig, Colorado, where Addie spent time earlier this year. Now he lives in Wenatchee, where she’ll be riding her new bike in the 50-mile Dam2Dam on September 27:

Addie’s looking for sponsors for next month’s ride; to find out how to help, check out this post on the blog about her ongoing recovery – it’s got full details on what to do (you can also go directly to this page on the Mike Utley Foundation website – just make sure you fill in Addie Killam’s name).

4 Replies to "New bike, new challenge for surfing-injury survivor Addie Killam"

  • rockergirl August 31, 2008 (12:07 am)

    Way to go Addie – keep up the good work and good luck on your ride over in Eastern Washington. I will be cheering for you!

  • beaboveit August 31, 2008 (10:04 am)

    Way to go Addie and thanks WSB and WS community for your continued support of our friend!

  • Maureen Emerson September 1, 2008 (7:38 pm)

    Keep smiling, Addie! You look fabulous on that bike! I would love to sponser you for your Dam 2 Dam ride–keep up the hard work. You should be so proud of yourself.

  • rockergirl September 25, 2008 (8:28 am)


    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2008 10:46 PM, PDT
    Alright, so I said I probably wouldn’t be updating this too much last time…well I guess I lied-sorry about that. I think this is worth taking another look at though!
    This is pretty big news: today my hip-flexors started working!
    First of all, the hip-flexors are the muscles on the inside of your hip bone in the front. I don’t really know how to describe it-just Google “hip flexor” and there are lots of results and photos to check out. The hip flexor is an essential muscle to have for walking because it helps you move your leg forward and also to allow it to stretch behind you during the second half of a step. I am sure it’s more complicated than that but those are the basics.
    How it all happened:

    Previously, I have had some sensation (not completely normal feeling) around the top to mid hip bones; however, I was unable to move any part of my hip muscles or related leg muscles.

    Anyways, today I was between classes and reading a book in the library when all of a sudden I felt something in my hip move. I was like hmmm, what was that…and tried to move legs and I felt it again-that’s when I knew it was my hip flexor. So I put hand down on my hip and tried to move it on command, and it worked…so I did it again, and again, and again-and still it was working. Now only the left one was working so I tried to make the right one work too. The right one works but it is a lot weaker and does not flex on command every time YET! Anyone who knows me knows that I was not about to simply sit in the library when such an important thing just happened…I was tempted to ask one of the other students (who I didn’t even know) to come feel it to make sure I wasn’t just crazy-but I decided against that and went to call my mom to tell her the good news. From there I was just so excited I almost didn’t even know what to do with myself-I just wanted to stand up and jump up and down! I’m not that far yet, but that’s all I wanted to do. So I went to class and on my way to my class I found a penny head’s up on the ground with 10 minutes of having some new movement. Now, exciting things like this just don’t happed together for no reason at all (or at least that’s what I believe and will continue to believe). The penny was hard to pick up and my hands were cold, so after about 4 or 5 minutes of trying to get it with a bunch of stuff in my lap I finally got it! Then I ran into a friend (who I know quite well) and had her feel my hip to make sure it was really moving-and it was! So one, that meant that I wasn’t crazy and two, that it was moving on command! So all through my last class and all day now I’ve been moving my hip flexors as much as I can, they seem to get fatigued so I give them a break and move them again and again and again. Still the right one is a lot weaker than the left one but they are doing something-something I like. Also, it is hard to see through my pants, but when I flex the hip flexors you can see the skin on the inside of my thigh pull inward slightly!

    This is a day I won’t ever forget (plus it’s easy to remember because it’s my dad’s birthday too). My last entry was about how it has been 6 months since my injury…I’ve stuck it for six long months and I finally got one more little flicker of hope that reassures me things will eventually come back and return to normal! I know this is a long process and I must wait it out. However, that does not mean that I am not going to try hard (still) to get more and more back! From the beginning I have known and been fully aware that this journey I was somehow put on would be a long, difficult, and winding road. I know where I want it to lead but I’m waiting to see just where this path puts me. After all don’t most long, winding roads lead to something amazing and gorgeous at the end? I hope so and won’t give up (even a little) until I’m the spectator view point at the end!


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