Cycling has been a part of Debra and Steve’s lives both individually and as a family since they met in graduate school. So it’s not surprising that cycling has played heavily in Debra’s recovery and their life as a couple since the stroke. Riding a tandem has enabled them to keep fitness in their lives and continue to enjoy athletic adventures together and with friends as they had before. 

Joining Debra and Steve to complete the Stroke Across America Riding Team are: Whitney Hardy, survivor of a Traumatic Brain Injury, Joe Golden, stroke survivor, Michael Obel-Omia, stroke survivor, and last but certainly not least, Steve and Debra’s dog Rusti will be tagging along — in a trailer behind the bike or in the SAG van. 

Debra Meyerson: stroke survivor, professor, author of Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke (and other books), and co-founder of Stroke Onward. She hates riding a tandem bicycle — it forces her to give up control. But at least we found one that doesn’t aggravate the spasticity in her right calf (muscle cramps from stroke) and gives her the best view.

Steve Zuckerman: husband, carepartner, “unnamed co-author” of Identity Theft and co-founder of Stroke Onward. Professionally, Stroke Onward is “chapter 3” after 15-year careers in each of private equity and economic justice. Riding cross country has been on his “bucket list” for 40 years and he’s thrilled to finally be doing it – and for such an important cause.

Joe Golden: Biked across America as a challenge for his 60th birthday; loved the trip and did several more long tours on two wheels. Sidelined by a massive stroke in 2016, Joe’s riding days came to an end. But not for long, as he now happily navigates the roads on his three-wheel, recumbent, electric-assisted bike. He is, to say the least, very excited for his next transcontinental journey.

Whitney Hardy: Grew up in Truckee, CA where skiing and soccer were her passions. Played four years of varsity soccer at Tufts in Boston. Four years after graduating in 2010 she was hit by a car while jogging, struggled for months to survive, and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). For her, this trip is part of her ongoing recovery — a physical challenge yes, but even more a way to push herself both cognitively and emotionally.

Michael Obel-Omia: Educator, poet, aphasia advocate, cyclist, stroke survivor. Michael’s stroke in May of 2016 caused aphasia and weakness on his left side. He has used poetry to recover his language and recently published a collection of poetry titled Finding My Words: Aphasia Poetry. He’s excited to continue his physical recovery and raise awareness for stroke and aphasia on this cross-country ride.

Rusti: Debra and Steve’s Goldendoodle puppy. Fantastic pet already and training to be a service dog. She will ride in her “Tail Wagon” behind us or in the SAG wagon as she chooses – but always the SAG on big climbing days.