On Tuesday night, Mrs. 'Hat Rack and I debated who would attend here Mom's Group book club. We were both slated to attend in a special "couples" edition, but the sitter fell through. She dispatched me.
We were discussing Tour de Life, the story of American cyclist Saul Raisin. Raisin was competing in April 2006 when he suffered a devastating bike crash which plunged him into a coma, paralysis and nearly cost him his life. As he lies silent in a French hospital, his parents fret in Dalton, GA before flying to Europe, uncertain if their son will even survive the week.
Less than six months later, as carefully detailed in a narrative that makes it feel like a lifetime, Raisin has defied every neurologist's expectation, and awakened, rallied, walked and ridden a bike. By January 2007, he is training with the world-reknowned Credit Agricole cycling team in France and dreaming of competing in the Tour de France.
The book club took place in co-author Dave Shields' home, and Raisin was present. The pair held court for 90 minutes, finishing each other's stories, showing how Raisin's scoliosis-racked back actually created a chest cavity and heart of immense proportions, answering questions they'd heard for a year now, and patiently advocating Saul's Raisin Hope cause.
Saul took ample time to talk about Tramatic Brain Injuries (TBI), which not only devastate the victim, but cause chasms in relationsihps with loved ones (70% in fact). TBI doesn't get the attention that super-charities like Leukemia Society and Lance Armstrong's Livestrong, but Raisin is determined to devote his life, with its boundless energy and sunny disposition, to TBI-related advocacy, primarily through his Raisin Hope Foundation.
We love Salt Lake for the personal access we have to events like this. As for the book, it's well worth the read - and a valuable inspirational work for anyone in need of a boost. Buy a copy - for the cause, and for the story. It will be on my office bookshelf (signed), as soon as Mrs. 'Hat Rack finishes.