Rasheed’s story — How he learned about bike safety the hard way

August 1, 2010

By Rasheed Markis

Rasheed

Rasheed Markis with a bike helmet and his bike with a mangled back wheel.

On Aug. 3, 2009, Bilal Markis’ 12-year-old son Rasheed rode his bike through a red light and was run over by two SUVs driving in opposite directions. His injuries were so severe that he lost one kidney and half his liver. He broke his pelvis, crushed one lung, and lost 46 pints of blood through surgery. Against all odds, Rasheed not only survived but is doing better today than before his accident mentally and physically, according to his doctors and teachers. His therapist told Bilal that Rasheed would need a minimum of two years of therapy. But in December 2009, after about three months, Bilal said therapists told him he needed no more. We asked Rasheed to provide his own account of his harrowing experience.

On Aug. 2, 2009, I was cleaning our old apartment on 16th and Greenfield, while my dad and my brother Elijah were packing and driving our furniture and boxes to our new apartment near 13th and Grange. My sister Yasmeen had to stay at her friend’s house for a few days until we moved and were settled in. Around 3pm we were done moving, cleaning, and then the last thing my dad had to do was drop off the U-Haul truck. The first thing we did once we got to our new apartment was to look for clean clothes and take showers. At around 5pm or so we went out to eat, I was so hungry. Where we ate, I forgot. After we ate, we then came home and went to bed—we were all tired from moving.

The next morning, we all got up early and started to unpack. My dad made a big breakfast and around 9am we ate. After we ate, my brother Elijah and I asked my dad if we could go for a bike ride. It was a nice day, so we kept asking as we were unpacking. Finally at around 11am, my dad gave in and let us. My dad did tell us to stay around the new area and not to go too far. What my dad didn’t know is that my brother told me outside that he was riding back to our old neighborhood.

As we left and crossed Grange Avenue, I didn’t look and a car hit the back of my bike. The person got out of the car to ask how I was, but I got nervous and didn’t say anything to the driver and rode fast and caught up to my brother.

After riding our bikes back to 16th and Greenfield, which seemed really far, we located some of our friends. We played basketball, hung out, and went to the library together. As it got late, around 10pm or so, we started to leave one friend’s house and crossed 16th and Greenfield and headed south on 16th Street. My brother decided to change directions and turn around. For some reason or another, we went back the same way we came from. My brother Elijah crossed Greenfield going north toward Chase Bank through a changing red light.

He made it to the other side safely; I stayed back for a moment with my friend Justin and then decided to go through the red light without looking. I never made it to the other side. Like I just blacked out or something.

Rasheeds sister

Rasheed’s sister Yasmeen, his biggest supporter, by his hospital bedside. Rasheed was in an induced coma from Aug. 3, 2009 until he awoke Aug. 9, 2009. This photo was taken Aug. 5, 2009.

I started to have fun when I was moved to a better and bigger room. In this room I was given a laptop computer to use, the Wii game, and many games to play from family and friends. I remember my sister Yasmeen telling my dad that it’s not fair that I have all these gifts from people. My dad told my sister that all she has to do to get gifts like this is “ride your bike through a red light and get run over by two trucks.” I will never forget her face. She said, “No, No. Never mind, he deserves it.” That was funny. She never said that again.

After a while, I got tired of hospital foods, especially French fries and shakes. I couldn’t believe how many people visited me. Many people I knew and many I didn’t. When I went home on Aug. 25, 2009, I was very weak. I couldn’t move like before.

I started therapy early September and started school on Sept. 9. At first kids started to be a little mean to me at school because of how skinny I was, but as I got stronger and bigger that stopped. Starting in late September I had my first interview with Fox 6 and then many more up until today. I did a commercial with Fox 6’s Nicole Koglin in November, and my Miracle story has been in many newspapers in Milwaukee and my story has been in the nationwide magazine Islamic Horizons. My dad said these interviews will be good because it could help others when it comes to bike safety.

Today my brother, my dad, and I are working with Wheel & Sprocket and BloodCenter of Wisconsin. I learned a lot about bike safety from talking with Liza from Wheel & Sprocket. She showed me a cantaloupe and threw it on the ground and told me to imagine that it was a head without a bike helmet. It broke in half. Then she showed me a cantaloupe and taped it in a bike helmet and threw it on the ground just as hard. It didn’t break.

Helmets are very important to wear when riding a bike. Also, when riding a bike at night, make sure you have bright colors on and a bike light. The last thing is to ride your bike through a green light only and still look both ways when crossing.

Celebrating the Miracle Comeback

Bilal Markis is sponsoring a Miracle Comeback event Aug. 3 in the 1700 block of W. Bow Street between Union and Muskego streets, two blocks west of 16th and Greenfield, directly behind Pete’s Market.

Markis has invited all major local televised media, local politicians, and will have a table on Rasheed’s story. BloodCenter of Wisconsin and Wheel & Sprocket will also have tables. He hopes to distribute free bike helmets. Clowns, food, and other area businesses are anticipated as well as the police, firefighters, and paramedics who helped Rasheed last year.

More info: www.miraclecomeback.com.

Firefighters

Milwaukee Fire Department Engine #12 responded to Rasheed’s accident last August. Pictured are Thomas McMeniman and Harold Johnson with Rasheed.

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