CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A stifflling hot day is only cooled by a weaving ride along the Charlotte Greenway. But unlike many rides that can be isolating, this one in particular is shared.
Paul Harrold and Thomas Neal are co-riders on a tandem bike. Neal is blind. He’s also a veteran. He lost his sight to glaucoma.
He’s one of around 60 athletes in the Para Guide Foundation in Charlotte. It was started by Harrold and Shannon Houlihan in 2017.
“They want to ride bikes and they want to go for a run and go for a walk and they don't want to just do it on a treadmill,” Houlishan said.
The nonprofit has volunteers who partner with people who are visually impaired to assist them with different sports. The volunteers provide transportation for the person who is visually impaired than guide them on the tandem bike. Neal says it not only stimulates the body but also the mind.
“It's relaxing. At the same time it allows me to move my feet a little faster than I normally do,” Neal said.
Over two years, the rides have created a bond between Neal and Harrold. It's a connection they hope to expand as they grow the number of visually impared athletes in the Para Guide Foundation.
Neal proves labels are just a descriptor. But doing the unexpected was made a little easier by the trust formed with Everyday Hero Paul Harrold.
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