Hello, I am Barbara Toth and I live with my husband, Jim in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Jim has been an avid bicyclist for over 50 years, and together we have enjoyed many miles together (me, from the back seat of our tandem!). Our entire world was dramatically changed 3 years ago when Jim, on his bike, was hit by a 17-year-old driver. Several vertebrae were broken, one completely smashed, and his spinal cord was partially severed. Thankfully, following what the surgeon referred to as “a miracle”, Jim is able to walk, and even ride his bike! We are so very grateful that he did not lose his life, but life with a spinal cord injury has certainly impacted our quality of life!
As we began the long journey of recovery and learning to live with our “new norm”, the idea of forming a non-profit organization was born. Over time, as a lifelong educator, I recognized that my particular niche in this work would be with young drivers. Although I’ve only been meeting with drivers ed classes for a few months, I am humbled and encouraged by the response of the students and their teachers! At the beginning of 2022, Vulnerable Road Users NM became an official not-for-profit organization with a 501(c)3 status. Many opportunities have come our way so far, and we are excited and energized at the prospect of positively impacting our community and beyond!
A profoundly meaningful part of this journey has been connecting with others, like Triny here at “It Could Be Me”, who share a vision for changing the future! I totally believe that can, and will, happen, as we work together! I am heartened by the redemptive aspect of using our stories to make a difference in the lives of others!