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JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JUNE 17, 2024 – Join Missouri State Parks and Ian Mackay as we commemorate his trek across the Katy Trail. On Monday June 24 at 9:30 a.m., the North Jefferson Trailhead of the Katy Trail, Mackay will start his journey toward Rocheport and he encourages trail enthusiasts to join him. Mackay is spending the week in Missouri, traversing the Katy using his wheelchair to promote accessibility to the trail.

June 4, 2008, started as a normal day for Mackay. At 26, he was coming home from a college study group, riding down the bike path and enjoying the wind in his hair. However, unbeknownst to Mackay, there was some sand on one of the path’s turns that made his bike slide, causing him to lose control. Luckily, his helmet saved his life when he collided headfirst into a tree. While never losing consciousness, he soon realized he could not move his arms or legs. After arriving at the nearest hospital, he was informed he had a spinal cord injury.

After multiple respiratory issues and a long surgery, doctors determined Mackay damaged his spinal cord near the C2 vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. In time, Mackay met other spinal cord injury survivors who helped him learn how to live life as a paralyzed man and eventually rekindle his passion for being outdoors.

Mackay obtained a dependable and easily accessible cellphone, freeing him to go outside alone. This allowed him to start exploring on his own, which led to him put 10 to 20 miles per day on his chair. He downloaded an app that tracks his distance, route and speed using GPS and has racked up 10,000 miles since then.

In 2016, he founded Ian’s Ride, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation in Washington to promote outdoor accessibility, further the availability of accessible technology and encourage support services for those with mobility impairment.

“I do this to demonstrate what is possible for people of all abilities,” said Mackay. “I do this to appreciate a much-needed adventure in time with close friends. I also do this to highlight accessible infrastructure and encourage others to go follow their own dream. Mainly I just want to show that you can live a full life despite disability.”

For more information on state parks and historic , visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Man in powered wheelchair on paved trail.

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