Poker Run To Aid Motorcycle Accident Victim

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Wheelchair-bound Mindy Valdez is determined to walk again after her April 29 motorcycle accident in Strawberry.

Valdez starts therapy on Independence Day.

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Injured motorcycle passenger Mindy Valdez is excited about the Benefit Poker Run that Kelly's Sweet Revenge Saloon to sponsoring for her on June 30.

"How soon I walk depends on how hard I push myself and I'm going to push myself hard, because I don't want to be in a wheelchair," said the 23-year-old mother of two.

Valdez was the passenger on her husband Philip's Harley-Davidson when he hit his brakes in an attempt to avoid the back end of a truck. She was thrown into the air. Her husband was OK. The Harley was totaled.

Mindy broke her back, her pelvis, her left femur and fractured one of her cervical bones.

When the 23-year-old woke up at Scottsdale Osborne Hospital, her husband told her what had happened.

She still has no memory of the accident or the four days that came after it.

The community is coming together to help Valdez mend.

Kelly Sterling, owner of Kelly's Sweet Revenge Saloon in Star Valley, immediately said "yes" when customer Kim Kallmann asked if she would organize a fund-raising event for Valdez and her family.

"The poker run came together in a day," Sterling said.

The ride kicks off at Kelly's Saloon at noon on Saturday.

From there, motorcycle riders will head to Jake's Corner to pick up a bead rather than a playing card, then to the Sportsman's Chalet in Strawberry. The Double D in Tonto Village is the third stop on the run.

Then, it is back to Kelly's for a barbecue, raffle and promotions from Budweiser and Southern Wine and Spirits.

The Rim Country District of Modified Motorcycles Association is also sponsoring the benefit for Valdez.

"I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out," Valdez said.

Rest is important to her recovery, so Valdez probably will not be at Kelly's when the motorcycle riders leave, but she will definitely be there when they cruise in to eat and enjoy G.A.S., the rhythm and blues band from Phoenix who volunteered their time for the cause.

Meanwhile, Valdez said her recovery is progressing faster than her doctors initially thought it would.

Nerve damage in her left leg has left her left foot numb, but Valdez hopes to walk by the end of July.

"I was very athletic and healthy before the accident, so they think that has helped me," she said.

Mindy's children, 8-year-old Synthia and 5-year-old Ignacio help her get dressed and make lunch.

"My husband and kids have been great," she said. "Without them, I don't know where I would be right now."

Will she ride again one day?

"Probably not for a while and not without a helmet," she said.

To the bikers who are riding for her she said, "Be careful, be aware and thanks for riding."

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