TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — El Tour De Tucson is welcoming the first adaptive cycling team created by Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports.
The Ascension Cycling team is made up of thirty people from 12 years old to 74 years old.
Apart from the team is Army veteran Peter Kerzner.
“If you go out and you do something, you know about or your, your couch in your house and get out and see the world is it's beautiful out here," he said.
The veteran said he's excited about the race.
“I've never done it before, so it's gonna be all new.”
While he’s excited, his journey to the start line was far from easy.
“I was unfortunately hooked on opiates because of eleven operations oh my leg, it was very painful,” he explained.
"[I] lost my mom that same year, 2020, and it's just a really bad year I was, you know, thinking, I didn't have much life left.”
That’s when Kerzner said he had a turning point.
“I [have to] either get better or I'm going to keep going down. I don't want to do that anymore. So, it's time for one last run," he said.
His coach, Mia Hansen, said that's what it's all about.
“Providing opportunities like this to people living with disabilities. Well, it's important for everybody to exercise, no matter your ability but for people with a disability, especially becomes important to start," said Hansen, executive director of Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports.
She said the team was all made possible by Ascension Wheelchair Lifts.
Paul Davis is a leader at the Tucson company and said it’s more than just making lifts for them.
“What we're really trying to do is help people have accessibility and the opportunity to live their life in the way that they want to do and so to see people like Peter, and other athletes like him, having the opportunity to pursue their goals and their dreams," he said.
Peter said the team has given him a new focus in life.
“It gives me the freedom that I don't otherwise have. And just exercise has gotten me, you know, in a month and a half I know I've made, light years of progress," he said.
Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports also offers basketball, tennis, and golf programs.
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