VENTURA, Calif. - A cancer survivor cycling for charity was attacked at a Ventura campground over the weekend, but the two-time cancer survivor says if cancer couldn’t stop him from completing his journey neither would a robber.
“You have to understand why I almost died for this bike. There is a lot more behind it than just this bike,” said Stephen Swift.
To Stephen Swift his bike is his world, for the last five years he has been riding it across the country to raise funds and awareness for cancer research.
“I went over 20,000 miles to 43 states, 3 countries and part of it was with terminal cancer,” said Swift, “I am a two-time cancer survivor and I lost my dad, sister and grandfather all to cancer. They don’t have a voice so I have to be the voice of thousands, millions of people who have lost their life to cancer.”
Swift was on the very last leg of his journey, when he was attacked Friday morning at Emma Wood State Park.
“I was woke up and I noticed my bike moving, and so I got up right away and I confronted this kid,” said Swift, “He had a rock and I grabbed my taser because I was going to taze him to stop him from stealing the bike because that is everything I had on that bike.”
The attacker used Swift’s own taser against him and badly beat him. He now has a broken shoulder and several stitches but he was able to keep his bike. The attacker got away.
“The attack was really bad. It didn’t discourage me but increased my want to ride more,” said Swift.
Since being released from the hospital a network of churches have come together to help Swift get back on his feet. Giving him a place to sleep, food, as well as washing his bloodied clothes. While he won’t be able to get back on a bike anytime soon, he says he isn’t giving up.
“You can break a bone, you can break my head, but you can’t break my spirit for my ride. I am a two-time cancer survivor. I could of died. I could of died Friday morning and I didn’t, so it is not going to stop me,” said Swift.
Thanks to Saint Joseph Church Swift will be catching a bus home to Newport, Oregon early Wednesday morning. His bike will be kept safe for him until he can return to Ventura County to complete his journey in the fall.