Shelby County teacher completes 3,000-mile bike ride despite vision and hearing impairment

Posted at 4:37 PM, Aug 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 04:43:23-04

SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Shelby County teacher is inspiring others and showing that anything is possible.

Jeff Bracken just finished a 3,000 mile bike ride across the country, despite having serious vision and hearing problems due to a genetic condition.

Jeff's remarkable journey on his bike came to an end in Washington D.C. last week.

“I definitely had a sense of pride, accomplishment, and joy. It was definitely very exciting,” said Bracken.

Jeff was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome when he was younger. It's the most common condition that combines deafness and blindness.

“So I'm tunnel vision. It's like looking through two toilet paper rolls,” said Bracken.

8 years ago when his sight really started to go, Jeff was forced to give up his driver's license. But the condition didn't force him to give up his pride.

“At the time, my wife was pregnant with my first child. I knew there was going to be a lot of burden on my wife, so I just started thinking of ways to help ease the burden. She was having to drive me to work, get all the groceries, do everything,” said Bracken.

Soon after Jeff picked up a bike, and the rest is history.

Jeff says he wanted to take on this challenge to empower not only people with Usher Syndrome, but anyone with a limitation.

“I was very emotional. I started crying because this is such a huge feat that he accomplished. Not a lot of people do this, and he did. And he did it very well,” said Jeff’s wife Mary Bracken.

After a long two months, Jeff’s wife and their two kids, are ecstatic to have their dad home tonight.

“He [Jeff’s son] talks about how proud he is of me. To set that example for my kids. It's an incredible thing to let them grow up and know they can achieve anything,” said Bracken.

Achieve anything, like their dad did.