Ride for Life stops in Paso on Wednesday

Fundraising concert at D’Anbino Vineyards and Cellar

PASO ROBLES — Singer and songwriter David Francisco is doing things he and others thought he would never do again. Things most people take for granted, such as walk, ride a bicycle, fall in love and get married, and appear on “American Idol.”

But the spinal cord injury survivor is proving everyone wrong.

“I’m excited to be on this journey,” said Francisco during a free moment on his fundraising and awareness bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. “I’m getting addicted to these moments of doing things that people said I would not be able to do.”

Francisco and his wife, Kristi, who married earlier this year, are riding a tandem bicycle on what is dubbed the David Francisco Ride for Hope. The pair ride as much as they can each day and their course brought them to Paso Robles on Wednesday, June 27.

Each pedal is a celebration of all that he has overcome since the tragic accident in April of 2016.

“It’s important to me to show people that together we can defy the odds,” Francisco said. “I wanted to give back and have been very encouraged by the support.”

Francisco continues to pursue his music career and in June of 2017 graduated from Nashville’s Blackbird Academy. The brainchild for the ride was one of Francisco’s professors, Kevin Becka, who was touched by the support of the music community for Francisco and wanted to be a part of it.

“Witnessing David’s courage and determination through his recovery from a catastrophic injury moved me to put this event together,” said Becka, who is the ride’s executive director. “The 500-mile trek is an effort to bring awareness and drive funds to those with spinal cord injuries and to help others to overcome and move beyond life-altering events.”

The ride is being produced by the nonprofit Celebrate Overcoming, whose mission is to “share the stories of people who have faced and overcome significant and sudden life challenges so that others in similar situations will be inspired/supported to press on, and live as Overcomers.”

Francisco’s stop in Paso Robles included an acoustic performance with Chris Blue, winner of “The Voice” in 2017, at D’Anbino Vineyards and Cellars in Paso Robles.

The net proceeds from the event will be passed on to MusiCares, a nonprofit organization that helps musicians; and The Shepherd Center Foundation, focused on Spinal Cord injury research.

The 12-day Ride for Hope began on June 22 with a kickoff concert in San Francisco and ends on July 3 at Santa Monica Beach with a victory lap and concert with Dennis Lorenzo, an “American Idol” top 10 finalist.

Francisco’s story has been well documented and included an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Two years ago, Francisco was an aspiring singer-songwriter, looking to get his big break while living in Nashville.

The 24-year-old was riding his bicycle home from his recording classes at Blackbird Academy when a distracted driver ran a red light and crashed into him at over 30 mph.

His head hit the roof of the car and his body slammed into the windshield. The force launched his body into the air as the car screeched to a stop.

The impact immediately fractured his spine and left him with a severe spinal cord injury. The ER surgeon, upon examining the scans, said it was a complete L1 fracture and he would never walk again.

After a bleak prognosis, he went through a year of intense, painful physical therapy and regained some use of his legs. This allowed him to return to school and ultimately take part in the ride, and resume his musical career. He appeared on “American Idol” in March of 2018.

Through it all his parents have been there for him. His dad, John Platillero, is on the ride.

“I am inspired every day by David and his positive attitude and hard work in the face of the unknown,” Platillero said. “I am most excited about this ride because it represents how much he has overcome already.”

For more information on the ride or tickets to concerts, visit dfrideforhope.com.

Photo Caption: David Francisco and his wife, Kris (center) stop along their journey for a photo with their Hope for Ride Team. (Photo contributed)


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