Windham man paralyzed in mountain bike accident receives outpouring of support

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Jim Harvey has a long road of recovery ahead, but he has the strength of his community behind him. Courtesy Photo

WINDHAM, NH – An online fundraiser to help the family of a Windham man who suffered a serious spinal cord injury while biking the Clyde Pond trails in Windham last week has raised over $205,000 so far.

The 39-year-old man is identified as Jim Harvey in the GoFundMe description, a husband, father of two, hockey and lacrosse coach and a systems engineer at L3 Harris in Londonderry. 

In a statement shared with Manchester Ink Link via an intermediary, Harvey’s wife, Alicia Harvey, said her family is eternally grateful for the “incredible” support they’ve received from the community.

“People are helping in so many ways…donations, time, skill sets, being there for our children…and simply being by our side. You never imagine something like this happening to your family and words cannot express how amazing everyone has been,” she said.

Harvey is an experienced mountain biker and would ride the same Clyde Pond trails before work a few days each week, according to the fundraiser description. 

He sustained a severe spinal cord injury to the C6-C7 cervical vertebrae, which resulted in “full paralysis from the chest down.” 

Harvey is in a surgical ICU and has already received multiple treatments and surgeries to stabilize his condition.

“He has some arm and wrist movement, but we are being told not to expect use of hands or anything below his upper chest. We are waiting for the swelling to go down to see where he lands and are hoping for a miracle,” the fundraiser says.

It’s expected Harvey will reside in a rehabilitation center for an estimated three months after he’s discharged from the hospital, in order to regain as much function and independence as possible.

The first year of treatment is expected to cost close to $770,000 and about $113,000 for each subsequent year, according to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The family also plans to make modifications to their Windham home to make it wheelchair accessible. 

The GoFundMe raised $205,000 in just the first three days, with over 1,000 donors and 2,500 shares.

Harvey is described as an avid outdoorsman and athlete, with a passion for mountain biking, wake surfing, water skiing, boating, downhill skiing and snowboarding, hockey, camping, hiking, fishing, golfing and scuba diving.

Due to Alicia’s long hours as a retail pharmacist, Harvey was the primary caregiver at home. He also volunteered on multiple community boards.

“Jim is a one-of-a-kind person – always with a smile on his face, a positive attitude, quick wit, and willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it,” the fundraiser says. “Even after this severe life-changing injury, he has continued smiling from his hospital bed, and in true Jim fashion, is looking for the positives within a truly horrific situation. Jim’s thankful to still be with us.”

Immediately after the accident, Harvey was alone in the woods for an estimated 90 minutes before another mountain biker discovered him and called 911. Rescue personnel from the Windham Fire Department hiked about half a mile into the woods to find him, with the help of another bystander, and carried him to an ambulance. 

He was airlifted from the Windham High School football field to Lahey Hospital in Burlington, Mass., by Boston Medflight.

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Ryan Lessard

Ryan Lessard is a freelance reporter.