Spotlight on Catherine Brubaker, Class of 2007

April 22, 2015 / by / 1 Comment

Catherine Brubaker celebrates her successful cross-country bicycle ride. (Photo courtesy of Catherine Brubaker)

Catherine Brubaker celebrates her successful cross-country bicycle ride. (Photo courtesy of Catherine Brubaker)

By Paige Gruner
Office of Alumni Relations
GCU Today Magazine

Catherine Brubaker is a two-time traumatic brain-injury survivor who has taken life by the handlebars.

In 2010, Brubaker was assaulted, leaving her with a brain injury that also affected her heart, necessitating a pacemaker. Upon being discharged from the hospital, she was involved in a head-on collision and sustained a second injury to her brain.

Three years after her accident, Brubaker was determined to take her life back. She purchased a recumbent tricycle and met Dan Zimmerman, a stroke survivor who was riding the same model. They realized they were riding for the same purpose — freedom.

Zimmerman gave Brubaker his card, and on the back was a U.S. map with a red line from Anacortes, Wash., to Key West, Fla. Zimmerman was doing a cross-country bike ride to raise hope and awareness about cycling’s ability to help brain-injury survivors recover and regain their strength.

Brubaker, of Tempe, Ariz., later called Zimmerman. She said, “I’m in. I want to do this ride.” She had six weeks to train and raise $10,000, which she accomplished with Zimmerman’s help and that of the community.

Along with four other cyclists, Brubaker completed the five-month, 5,390-mile ride, “Spokes Fighting Strokes,” on Nov. 29, 2014. “That ride changed my life,” said the GCU alumna, who has a master’s degree in leadership.

The journey inspired Brubaker, 44, in many ways. She started a nonprofit, Hope for Trauma, to raise hope for brain-injury survivors. Her goal is to purchase recumbent tricycles for survivors and teach them to ride safely.

To donate to or learn more about Brubaker’s organization, visit or connect with her at

About the Author
One Response
  1. Catherine

    Regarding your story in the May GCU Today Magazine, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share my experience of rising from the ashes and the opportunity to give hope to others!

    – Catherine Brubaker

    Apr.24.2015 at 9:13 pm
Leave a Comment