A bicyclist was struck by a truck driving down Highway 126 on Tuesday afternoon. It might sound like just another accident, until you meet Fred Bouwman, the man riding that bicycle.
Bouwman, of Ontario, Canada, was biking around the world to raise money for an orphanage in the Philippines. His journey started in Thailand back in January, where he helped orphans abandoned by their parents.
“I saw a program on the Philippines a few years ago, and thought it would be great to help out over there,” Bouwman said Thursday from his hospital bed at St. Charles Bend. “Then I thought, ‘Instead of flying down there, why don’t I ride my bicycle there?’ And that’s how it started.”
From Thailand, he cycled through Malaysia and Singapore, took a ferry to Indonesia and continued through Australia on his bike.
“Then I flew to North America and flew to Inuvik, which is the northernmost road in Canada,” Bouwman recalled.
He was closing in on 10,000 miles as he reached Central Oregon. But his journey took an abrupt halt.
“I don't remember a car approaching me," he said. "I don't remember getting hit."
Witnesses say the pickup truck had moved to the right on the highway as a semi was passing in the oncoming lane. The right-front quarter panel and side-mirror of the truck struck Bouwman in his upper back.
“(A witness) told me that I went flying over my handlebars and landed in the bushes,” he said.
Bouwman was flown to Bend for treatment of what Oregon State Police called serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He suffered broken vertebrae in his neck, two collapsed lungs and four broken ribs.
Bouwman spoke with doctors on Wednesday, and said he was told recovery could take as long as three months.
“If I could get up, I could walk around,” Bouwman said. "It's just a deal just to get up. So you go from biking around the world to not being able to stand up -- it's quite a change."
And with that change comes doubt that his journey will pick up where it unfortunately left off.
"It's possible that I continue, but then I would come back here, and start again,” he said.
Bouwman says he doesn't know how much money he's raised on his trip, as any donations are shipped right off to the Angel House Orphanage in the Philippines.
For more information and to donate, visit http://www.angelhousephilippines.org
For more on his trip, visit http://www.bikefororphans.com