Amanda Garrett

KSU graduate Pete Zeidner raises money for cerebral palsy research

Pete Zeidner, a 1986 Kent State graduate, was born with cerebral palsy. To raise research money from his love of biking, Zeidner started the foundation Pedal-with-Pete.

Credit: Andrew popik

Pete Zeidner loves to ride his bike, and he doesn’t let anything stop him — not being born with cerebral palsy, which causes him to have difficulties walking and speaking. Not even a 1999 bike accident that broke his neck and left him with a serious spinal cord injury.

Zeidner, a Kent State alumnus, combines his love of biking with his passion for cerebral palsy research in the Pedal-with-Pete Foundation. Pedal-with-Pete has raised more than $200,000 to help people with cerebral palsy.

“I started Pedal-with-Pete because of frustration,” Zeidner said. “I was upset that there wasn’t any research being done for cerebral palsy. I thought I could use my love of biking to raise money for CP.”

Once Zeidner had a dream of riding across the United States to promote his foundation, but it was cut short because of his biking accident.

“My accident has been the biggest setback to Pedal-with-Pete so far,” Zeidner said.

Because of his accident, Zeidner has to bike in tandem with his fianc‚e, Chris Hudecek. But Zeidner said he isn’t discouraged.

“You have to have hope in life,” he said.

Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects muscle development and coordination. Cerebral palsy is usually caused by brain damage to a fetus before birth, said Dr. Leland Albright, chief of neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Albright, who works with Pedal-with-Pete, said it is a mistake to underestimate Zeidner’s determination.

“A lot of people look at Pete and, because of the way he looks and speaks, they think he isn’t worth much,” Albright said. “They couldn’t be more wrong. Pete’s as sharp as a tack, and he is one of the most generous, loving and hardworking people I’ve ever met.”

Zeidner’s idea for the foundation began in 1991, when he biked more than 1,000 miles around Ohio to raise awareness for cerebral palsy.

After returning from his journey, Zeidner decided to start Pedal-with-Pete in Kent, and the foundation has since added groups in Columbus and Palo Alto, Iowa. Zeidner said he enjoys seeing his foundation grow.

“It was so exciting to see the Columbus chapter get off the ground,” he said. “They have a lot more volunteers and raise a lot more money.”

Every year the foundation sponsors a bike and hike event in May and a bike raffle at Marty’s Bike Shop in Stow. In October the foundation sponsors a mile walk that gives participants time to appreciate their good health, Hudecek said.

“The event gives people time to reflect on the fact that it is so easy for them to put one foot in front of the other, while a lot of people, like Pete, have trouble walking,” Hurdecek said.

Most of the money raised by Pedal-with-Pete goes to the Spasticity and Movement Disorders Clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The clinic, led by Albright, has developed a pump that injects the drug baclofen into patient’s spinal cords. Albright said the pump and drug helps ease muscle tension and improves patients muscle coordination.

Those wanting to help the foundation can contact Zeidner through his Web site at

Contact news correspondent Amanda Garrett at [email protected].