Cross-country cyclist Jacob Landis made a stop during his first summer tour in 2015 for “the gift of hearing” at Garden Spot Village to visit his grandparents and the community members on July 16, sharing his story.
Landis created his own charity organization called Jacob’s Ride in 2013 and has been pursuing it ever since. He began his second coast-to-coast ride in California on May 26 and finished in Ocean City, Md., on July 19, as expected. He had a police escort the last part of the way and ended the ride with a reception, according to Cathie Cush of Garden Spot Village.
Jacob’s Ride is an organization that takes donations and raises money to give to other organizations and hospitals that can give the funds to a child in need of a cochlear implant. The organization helps families to afford and make the cochlear implant possible for a child.
“In a day and age when people have their own agendas and personal focus, it is wonderful to meet a young man who has a heart for helping others,” said Colleen Musselman, director of life enrichment at Garden Spot Village.
According to Landis, the cochlear implant is a small computer which works by picking up sound and amplifying the noise so that the person can hear and comprehend the noise.
Landis contributes to his organization by riding his bicycle across the United States each summer. In 2013 when he first started the organization, he decided he would ride his bicycle across the United States to all 30 major league baseball stadiums in America. Landis rode his bicycle nearly a total of 11,000 miles, visited each MLB stadium, and brought together thousands of people with hearing loss, who had or needed a cochlear implant. He shared his knowledge and connected with them about the cochlear implant.
“The most successful people with the implant are the young, which is why I’m a good advocate for the organization,” Landis said.
With less than 200 miles left, and six months into the ride in 2013, Landis had been hit by an 18 wheeler, and was left with a concussion, shattered cheek bones, a broken nose, broken teeth, and severe nerve damage in his left arm.
Despite this, he was still able to fulfill his goal of riding to all MLB stadiums, making it to his last destination of Miami. He was not able to throw the first pitch as planned, or keep score as he usually did at the games because he was left-handed.
“I felt almost empty inside, not being able to do anything,” said Landis.
Landis also could not ride his bike to the stadium and finish his goal as planned, but promised he would finish the ride, and he did. The summer of 2014 he had finished those last 200 miles on his bicycle.
“Overall, he was determined not to let the accident diminish his love for biking,” said Jacob’s father, Randy Landis.
He raised almost a total of $200,000 and has helped seven people so far.
“It’s outstanding what he’s doing,” said Pennsylvania Hearing Loss Association of America Coordinator Dale Long,
Landis had been inspired to put together his love for baseball, cycling and the ability to share his knowledge with others because when he was only two years old he began to lose his hearing.
His parents had taken him to see many doctors and specialists, for some time, but in 1997, when Landis was 10 years old, the Johns Hopkins Visiting Center had given the family some hope. They were told that with testing he may be a candidate for a cochlear implant.
Landis had to take more than 20 different tests before he was told that he was a candidate for the cochlear implant, but the implant seemed like a good possibility and solution.
In 1999, Landis was able to get the surgery for the cochlear implant, and he was one of the few children his age that were able to get it, which is why he is promoting it today.
Although Jacob’s Ride does raise the money, they do not get to pick who the money goes to. They know who the money did go to many months later. Landis usually gets the chance to meet the person either before or after they get their cochlear implant.
Along with Jacob’s commitment to the organization, he also has gotten an associate’s degree from Anne Arundel Community College, and is a full time student at Maryland University, soon to graduate with a major in business administration. He also has a full time job at Whole Sale Foods in Annapolis, Maryland, which fully supports Jacob’s Ride.
This summer Landis rode his bicycle from Los Angeles, California, to Ocean City, Maryland, and will continue by riding to the four Maryland Minor League Baseball teams starting Aug. 1.
For more information about Jacob’s Story, current updates, and the Jacob’s Ride organization, visit www.jacobsride.org.