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Ray Needs Our Help

Words by Rae Gandolf, Photos by Bryan Mitchell

Ray Petro is a man who needs no introduction for those in the cycling community. Ray is the founder, designer and owner of the world’s first indoor mountain bike park (Ray’s Indoor MTB Park) in Cleveland Ohio.

Ray’s passion for mountain biking was the key to overcoming his battle with addiction.  By creating the park, Ray found a place to pour out his passionate drive  year-round and provide a place to share a sport he loves so much.

Over the past 15 years Ray has provided so much to the cycling community both regionally and nationally.  Ray transformed a forgotten factory into an epic all-season riding destination for riders all over the world. It’s a place where children have taken their first pedal strokes and professionals have honed world class riding skills.  The park hosts unique competitions and events in mtb and bmx, directly supports efforts toward regional mtb trails and continues to help grow the female contingent thorough annual exclusive women’s events.  In short, the word “Ray’s” means “fun” to riders around the globe.

Ray has given the riding community so much.  It’s time for us to rally.

While mountain biking outdoors on the trails of Royal View Park in Cleveland in September, Ray lost control of the front end of his  bike in some leaves and crashed into a tree.

He’d laid face down, unable to move and unable to catch his breath for about 15 minutes when a jogger found him. When Ray awoke in the hospital, he learned that he’d suffered life-altering injuries including two broken neck vertebrae (C5 and 6) that were surgically stabilized.

Ray is working hard to breathe without the use of a ventilator and is starting to regain some feeling in his extremities. He has started physical therapy but it will be a long journey that begins with getting his voice and lungs back, while working toward regaining as much mobility as possible. With a lot of work, he plans to get back to some sense of normalcy.

Ray will face many mentally and physically demanding challenges that, simply put, will be expensive. Nerves are the slowest part of the body to heal and it will happen over months and years. Ray’s insurance and state support will be very helpful, but they only go so far. Your contribution will help Ray get the rehabilitation he needs along with the adaptations such as equipment and remodeling that will help him to get situated at home once he is out of the hospital.

Rae Gandolf organized this campaign in conjunction with Ray’s good friend Jeff Lenosky and with assistance from Ray’s dedicated sister, Ricci. I’m so thankful to Ray for the truly awesome impact he has had on my life. He probably doesn’t really know what an impact he’s had in my life or yours.

Ray will be the sole beneficiary of these funds to help with his recovery, through a trust set up in his name. Every contribution will help!

Donate Here

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