SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man is riding his bike up 200,000 vertical feet to help raise awareness about the dangers of opioid addiction.
Jimmy Bokinskie is a physical therapist and has seen what getting high from opioids has done to too many people.
“I’ve been concerned about it for quite some time,” Bokinskie said. “A few years. And then, when that happened, when my brother passed away, it just fueled my concern.”
Bokinskie’s brother, CJ, died about a year and a half ago after overdosing on heroin — an opioid addiction he just couldn’t shake.
“He had a long history of drug abuse and it was something we thought he had kicked a couple of times,” Bokinskie said.
His loss made him want to do something to help raise awareness about opioid addiction. Bokinskie decided to spend a year biking 200,000 vertical feet — 100,000 for him and 100,000 for his brother.
“I did the math at the beginning of the year and I thought, ‘How much time do I have to ride?’” Bokinskie said.
A lot of his time was spent pedaling in Farmington Canyon until last month when an accident on his bike sent him to the emergency room. Doctors offered Bokinskie opioids for his pain there.
“I actually teared up,” he said. “It was a little bit emotional because of the campaign I have going on here, but also because I was in pain and I thought, ‘There’s no way I can take them.’”
Bokinskie chose to do physical therapy instead of taking medication and is back to experiencing a natural high on his bike again. He recently hit his 200,000 vertical feet mark.
“It was a really emotional moment to honor my brother, do something about my grief and the epidemic as well,” Bokinskie said.