Marine veteran to lead Pinellas Park bicycle ride for Wounded Warriors

Marine veteran Mike Delancey's life changed forever when he was injured overseas while serving in his second deployment. It's the reason he celebrates his "alive day" each year on September 1, the day he survived. 

This year, Delancey will be riding his hand cycle, leading the Alive Ride through Pinellas Park

"What that is, is a 10-mile bicycle ride with a police parade in front of us, escorted throughout the city," said Delancey. "And we hit every elementary school in the city to show community involvement."

September 1 is the day that changed Delancey’s life forever. 

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"Not the day I almost died but sort of my rebirth," said Delancey. "The day I like to say I gave the Grim Reaper the middle finger."

He was on his second deployment overseas – first Afghanistan, then Iraq. He was shot in the back by a sniper, the bullet hitting his fifth, sixth and seventh vertebrae and his right lung. It left Delancey paralyzed from his chest down. He died twice as he was flown to the hospital.

"Since I've been injured, I've been blessed with great opportunities to do things left and right that I would never have dreamt of had I not been hurt," said Delancey. 

One dream he has seen come true is the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch, 10 acres in Pinellas Park he created with his parents to get injured veterans active again. It is designed around the adaptive athlete.

"Our fitness stations are designed to where I can wheel up and work out right next door to my dad," said Delancey. "A lot of our spots are played on the basketball court. Our playground is the hard rubber mulch so veterans – or anybody in a wheelchair – can come and hang out with their family and not be stuck in that barrier where you're watching your kids play in the mulch."

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The ranch and the Alive Ride let wounded warriors know they are not alone, and their lives are far from over.

"I'm hoping it's just the little nudge they need to get out – they make a friend," Delancey said. "The next thing you know they're not sitting home. They're going – hanging out with their friends every day, weekends. It's just great mental therapy for them."

The Alive Ride on September 1 is either a 10-mile or three-mile—whichever suits you best.

To learn more about the Alive Ride and the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch, click here: