ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - A Columbia, Illinois pediatrician continued his seven year push to protect children from serious brain injuries when they ride their bikes. The Helmet Hustle is a bike ride and the dream of Dr. Joe Cangas. His efforts to encourage everyone to wear a helmet began when he was training to be a doctor and spotted a teenage boy at the hospital.
Cangas said, 'This child was sitting the hallway at the hospital in high chair and diaper and he couldn`t even feed himself and that was all from a head injury.'
Money raised from the ride goes to Helmets First to purchase more helmets for children who cannot afford one. Suzanne McGraw took part in the bike ride, 'I never wore a helmet so I`m grateful to be here because anything could have happened.'
It seems wearing a helmet is becoming second nature to children, like Milo Greenfield a 4th grade student, 'Once I fell off my bike I hit my head but I didn`t really hurt my head because I was wearing a helmet.'
Helmets First began 7 years ago and in that time the organization has given away about 13,000 helmets. Dr. Cangas said, 'Parents often say they ride just around our neighborhood or they just ride around the yard a simple fall even standing on the bike a simple fall can give you a head injury that`s life altering or life ending.' Cangas said 85 percent of bicycle related injuries can be avoided by wearing a helmet.