Ironman Raising Money for Frazier Rehab Institute - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ironman Raising Money for Frazier Rehab Institute

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two friends are pushing their bodies to extreme boundaries.  They built their friendship training for Ironman competitions, but after a serious accident, are now testing their iron will and unbreakable love for one another.  

Tom Morris spends his days in therapy at the Frazier Rehab Institute in downtown Louisville.

His best buddy, Jason Dierking, is at his side. Tom and Jason met at Indiana University while they worked as strength and conditioning coaches for the school's athletic programs. Both have a love of extreme competition and sport so they starting competing in Ironman races. Last spring the strength of their friendship would be tested.

"I got a text message that he was in an accident," says Dierking.

"I was preparing for a mountain bike season… May 17th I was out training…I hit something and flipped over the handle bars, somersaulted through the air. I ended up fracturing my spine, fracturing my neck and just left me laying there on the ground," recalls Morris.

The one-time triathlete was left paralyzed from the chest down.

"He was sitting up in bed and said, yeah I'm good, I just got some dead legs," says Dierking.

Dierking says he felt a sense of responsibility so he he's put his energy into what he does best: training.

"I'm training for the full Ironman here in Louisville, August 25th -- half of it for me, half of it for Tom -- and it's like we're racing kinda like together again in spirit," says Dierking.

Dierking is also using the Louisville Ironman as an opportunity to raise money for Frazier Rehab patients.

"One of the things we desperately need to do is to build dormitory style housing for our patients -- in a way a Ronald McDonald House for rehabilitation patients," says Dr. Steven Williams with the Frazier Institute.

They have to find a hotel to stay in, transport themselves, find a way to get to and from Frazier on a daily basis.

Jason created the Frazier Ironman Housing Fund to offset the cost of housing and transportation for out of town patients.  

As for Morris, his true character is shining.

"The accident is one thing but it's just a challenge in my life right now," Morris says. "The big deal for me is just keep on living," he says.  

And these two friends have made the ultimate bet: a challenge at the Ironman finish line.

Morris wants Dierking to finish the grueling race in 10 hours so he can qualify for the Ironman finals in Hawaii. Dierking want Morris to walk across the finish with him.

"I don't know if I'll walk across the finish line but I'll give every effort that we can to make sure I can maximize the potential to do that. So we'll see," says Morris.

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