July 8, 2015 Edition

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A daughter inspires father on
cross-country bike adventure

John McCormack of Little Rock, who is married to Walnut Ridge native Deana Cox McCormack, is riding cross-country on a dirt bike trip to raise money in support of Easter Seals Arkansas. The trip was inspired by their daughter, Haven, age nine.
Submitted Photo

Haven's Road is a cross-country dirt bike adventure to raise awareness and funds for children with special needs and their families. Inspired by his daughter, Haven Blu McCormack, John McCormack has taken on the challenge of the Trans American Trail.

John is married to Walnut Ridge native Deana Cox, who is the daughter of Jerry and Sondra Cox of Jonesboro and formerly of Walnut Ridge. John and Deana also have another daughter, Eden, who is five years older than her sister. The McCormacks live in Little Rock.

The Trans American Trail is known as "The TAT" and is a route across America entirely on dirt. From back roads to single path trails, from flat prairies to high-mountain passes, it is the "bucket list" item for dual-sport motorcycle enthusiasts in North America. For John McCormack, the TAT has been a long-term dream; but that dream takes second seat to something more important~his daughter Haven.

Born with a heart defect, Haven had several surgeries in her first few weeks of life. After the second of these surgeries, Haven's heart stopped. Doctors and nurses at Arkansas Children's Hospital tirelessly performed CPR for 58 minutes and saved her life.

She is now a happy, vivacious little girl … who, with the benefit of therapy at Easter Seals Arkansas, is growing to be independent and learning skills we all need for productive lives.

It was at the intersection of John's dream to ride the TAT and desire to benefit Easter Seals, where the Haven's Road project was born. Its goal is simple: to raise $500,000 in support of Easter Seals Arkansas through sponsorships, online donations and special events along the route.

In conjunction with the ride, video stories will be shared featuring the children, staff and volunteers of Easter Seals Arkansas. In addition to raising funds, the McCormacks want people across the country to have a better understanding of those with special needs and be ready to lend a hand in helping them have an equal opportunity to live, learn, work and play in their communities.

Haven's Road began with John departing from New York City on July 1, and he is planning to arrive in Los Angeles at the end of the month. Deana said Monday that John should be coming near Little Rock this weekend on the trip.

Haven's Road will be a long, hard adventure, filled with obstacles and requiring strength and endurance. "But it is nothing compared to the daily challenges of children and adults with special needs," John saids.

To learn more about the event or to contribute, visit www.havensroad.com.

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