Bike Sharing Company Donates Bicycles to Florida Hospital Patients

A boy races his bike ahead of his mom on the trail
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DAYTONA BEACH, FLA., November 16, 2017 Chad Jacobs was in Massachusetts when Hurricane Irma blew through Central Florida in September, but as a former Floridian, he knew the level of anxiety a storm of this magnitude could cause.

Growing up in Key West, we were devastated a few times from hurricanes. While we were safe when we evacuated, we would wonder if our home or our school, or even our car, would be there when we returned, said Jacobs, a sales consultant with Zagster, a startup company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that designs, builds and operates bicycle sharing programs across the U.S. If you lose your car, that's a significant hardship in many ways.

After Hurricane Irma, Jacobs reached out to Florida Hospital DeLand and Florida Hospital Fish Memorial and offered to donate bicycles and helmets for patients in need and impacted by the storm.

We wanted to do our part to help those impacted by the storm and we just happened to have these bikes available, he said. This fleet of rental bikes we're getting ready to be decommissioned, and we didn't want them to go to waste if they could fill a need and help others.

The hospitals gave these bikes to patients enrolled in Florida Hospital Community Care, a program that helps uninsured and underinsured patients manage multiple chronic illness and live healthier despite multiple barriers.

We were so grateful for this generous donation, said Lorenzo Brown, Florida Hospital DeLand CEO. A bicycle is something that can make a huge difference in the lives of a patient. Not only can it give them an avenue for exercise to improve overall health, but it can also be a source of independence, providing reliable transportation around town.

With a focus on the top 5 percent of high utilizers that use nearly 50 percent of healthcare resources, Florida Hospital Community Care helps patients become active advocates of their own personal care and avoid multiple hospital visits, and ultimately, lead healthier lives.

Through Florida Hospital Community Care, a team of clinicians, including a registered nurse, social worker, dietitian, and counselor, along with student health coaches, coordinate post-discharge care for patients, all free of charge.

Robbin Duonnolo of DeLand has been enrolled in the Florida Hospital Community Care program at Florida Hospital DeLand for a little over a year and says the program has saved her life.

In July 2016, Duonnolo stepped on some rusty metal and severely injured her leg. This trauma put her in and out of the hospital seven times over a span of a year as she underwent a skin graft and fought an infection. Since being enrolled in Florida Hospital Community Care, she hasn't been admitted to the hospital once. In addition, she now has a primary care doctor and health insurance.

Without a vehicle, Duonnolo typically walks to any place she needs to go, whether it is to her doctor's office or the grocery store. Now that she has a bicycle, she says she will have an easier time getting around town.

Kevin OBrien of Deltona was admitted to the Florida Hospital Community Care program at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in July. Prior to enrolling in the program, he had visited the emergency department and been admitted as a patient several times due to complications with asthma. Since becoming a Florida Hospital Community Care patient, OBrien has become extremely motivated and compliant with managing his doctor's appointments and medications. He hasn't needed emergency medical care since early September.

Kevin recently shared with us that he wanted to exercise, eat better and lose weight. Just two weeks ago, before we even knew about these donated bicycles, he mentioned he would really love to have a bike in order to begin exercising more, said Michelle Medina, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Community Care manager. As the only income earner in his family, the financial pressures placed upon him have been a big challenge, but he's noticed the positive impact the program has had on his health in such a short period of time.

When picking up his new bike from the hospital, OBrien said he was looking forward to improving his health.

I was just saying the other day that I wanted to start working out again, OBrien said. Now I can ride my bike to the store and get a little exercise on the way. This is better than joining a gym.

Rob Deininger, CEO at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, noted what great exercise bike riding can be.

As an avid bike rider myself, I know the various health benefits of cycling, both physical and mental. It engages your legs and burns more calories than an easy walk, but it's still easy on your joints, Deininger said. We were so thrilled to get the call from Chad at Zagster with the news of this gift. I know it will make a big impact on our Florida Hospital Community Care patients.

After meeting a few of the patients receiving the donated bikes from Zagster, Jacobs reflected on seeing firsthand how this donation will help area residents in a tangible way.

Transportation can be a ladder out of poverty. These bikes can help in not only mobility, but also in improving health and wellness, he said. Seeing the reaction from these patients today, for me, this reaffirms why we at Zagster do this, why we care about health and wellness, and why transportation is so important. It really does change lives.

About Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region

A member of Adventist Health System, Florida Hospitals mission is to extend the healing ministry of Christ. Encompassing seven Florida Hospitals in Flagler, Lake and Volusia counties, the Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region is the largest hospital system in the area, with 1,226 beds and more than 7,800 employees. The Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region includes Florida Hospital DeLand in DeLand, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City, Florida Hospital Flagler in Palm Coast, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida Hospital Oceanside in Ormond Beach, Florida Hospital New Smyrna in New Smyrna Beach, and Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares.

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