The Stephan Challenge

Here is a little taste of the Stephan Challenge adventure, by Katy-Robin Garton for Sprout Films.


In 2007, something went terribly wrong with Mark Stephan’s bike during a weekend bike ride. His front wheel unexpectedly disengaged from the bicycle, catapulting Mark over the handlebars and onto the ground, paralyzing him from the neck down. The accident left him a quadriplegic, and doctors were blunt: life in a wheelchair was the best he could expect.

Mark refused to accept his grim prognosis. Shattering all expectations, he left the hospital less than five months after his accident—walking under his own power. Then, pushing beyond what anyone thought possible, two years after the accident, his grueling training culminated in an unbelievable achievement—climbing 103 floors to the top of the tallest building in North America as a fundraiser for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s. While doctors, family, and friends were blown away, questioning how this was even possible, Mark had already set his sight on a new adventure: a 3,129-mile bike ride across the United States to raise support for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s new Research Hospital.

On April 15th, 2012, the journey began!

Join the Stephan Challenge and follow Mark’s incredible journey through his training, to the start of his bike ride, and across the finish line. With each mile on the bike Mark is transforming a story of tragedy into one of perseverance and the power of the human spirit.



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