Community rallies to support local family

Mike and Kim Dailey

Around this time last year, Mike Dailey of Columbia was unconscious in the intensive care unit at St. Anthony’s Medical Center with a fractured skull, bleeding in the brain and lung damage.

He had sustained these life-threatening injuries when he hit a pothole on Country Club Lane in Waterloo and fell off his bike. His wife, Kim, waited patiently at his bedside all the while for him to wake from a coma that lasted several weeks.

But even then he had a long road to recovery. Besides his more severe injuries, he also had broken ribs, a broken scapula and blood clots in all of his extremities.

And there were mental difficulties as well.

“It was bad. I cut my arm and my body,” said Mike, who now struggles with speech and memory problems. “I don’t remember any of that.”

Before his accident, Mike, 48, was excelling in his career in orthotic and prosthetic design at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and in his free time loved to bike as a recreational activity. He had even done so competitively many years ago. 

“I’ve just always worked out my whole life and that was my sport,” he said. 

Mike was also highly involved in the Columbia Kiwanis Club and decided to bring two of his passions together — helping others and cycling. He did this by creating the fundraising event known as the Radtour several years ago.

“Mike has a passion for kids and making sure they get every opportunity to be successful,” acting Columbia Kiwanis president Bruce Doyle said.

The event, now known as the Mike Dailey Radtour, started as a way to raise money for Columbia schools to give students struggling with reading afterschool help, but this year’s funds will go to STEM programs at the schools.

Doyle is serving as the coordinator of the event in place of Dailey.

“When Mike got hurt, I stepped forward and said, ‘We’re going to make this happen.’ There was no way we weren’t going to do this,” he said.

The event includes four biking trails of different lengths — one is a seven-mile fun ride for kids and the other three are 25, 40 and 60 miles in length. The ride will start at 8 a.m. Oct. 6 at the Columbia Schnucks with registration at 7 a.m.

Additionally, assistance for participants will include six rest stops with fruit, energy bars and bottled water, as well as sag support in case a bike breaks down in the middle of the ride. Signs have also been made to mark the course and warn drivers of bikers along the road.

For more information on the event, such as a map of the different routes, go to or contact Doyle at 618-281-2301. The cost is $15 for pre-registration and $20 the day of the event.

“We’ve grown a bit each year. I think we had about 100 people participating last year but that was with none of the effort of this year,” Doyle said. “We’ve really been getting the word out.”

At the beginning of the event, Mike will have the honor of announcing the race and welcoming riders.

Stages of recovery
Mike could not organize the event this year because of complications in his recovery such as low stamina.

“I’m only working three days a week right now because otherwise I’m tired the next day,” he said. 

But Kim is encouraged by his progress, considering the state he was in last year.

“It’s amazing. (He looks) fabulous. I post pictures of him on Facebook and people will comment saying he doesn’t even look like he was hurt,” she said. “(He’s) amazing. I think (he’s) going to make a full recovery.”  

A large part of that recovery is due to a surgery he underwent at Barnes-Jewish Hospital after being transferred from St. Anthony’s. The process of getting him to where he could have surgery — which involved cannulating or introducing tubing into the heart — started with doctors shutting down his brain to allow the swelling to heal. 

He was then kept alive through machinery and medications.

However, his situation looked bleak, and Kim noted that she came close to having to say goodbye at that point. 

“The doctors said they could try (the surgery as a last resort) and I said, ‘Please do it.’ I’m watching this thinking he’s going to die,” she said. “(He was) gone, for all intensive purposes. And I was stroking (his) arm. It got to a point where people were saying their goodbyes. 

“When I was sitting there, and it was that grim, the thoughts going through my head were, ‘I’m going to lose my husband and I have to tell my daughter this. How am I going to plan a funeral? How do you even do that? How am I going to be a widow?’ You just think crazy thoughts. 

“But praise God. He was at Barnes and they did some remarkable work. And here (he is).”

Mike also lamented how difficult it is to wrap his head around.

“I’m just amazed. I mean, my body works,” he said. “It’s nothing short of a miracle.”

Eventually, Mike became well enough to work through physical therapy at the hospital before returning home with his wife, whom he gives a great deal of praise for her commitment as he struggled to hang on.

“I was asleep for months and I would not know her name. She would still take care of me,” he said with a sense of wonder.

The accident has also encouraged Mike to help ensure the safety of others when they ride.

“That’s the part of that I can do because I can tell people how awesome the area is and to be safe. I’ve always told people to ride the right way,” he said.

Golf fundraiser
Others besides the Columbia Kiwanis Club have seen Mike’s recovery and been inspired to help. For example, Jon Wehrenberg of the TEAMwork Foundation is arranging to have the annual Zach and Friends Golf Tournament in the county serve as a benefit for the Daileys.

“We kept saying that we didn’t need that because really we’ve been doing pretty well. But he kept insisting and he wouldn’t take no for an answer so we finally gave in,” Kim said. “It was so nice.”

The event is named after Mike and Kim’s son. Zach Dailey, who is autistic, became a major part of Columbia school sports when he started taking stats for Wehrenberg’s eighth grade basketball team. He can be seen at all Columbia High School home football games giving new meaning to the idea of pumping up the crowd.

The golf event takes place Oct. 7 on the day after Radtour. At Acorns in Waterloo, golfers will tee off following a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The cost is $300 per team.

Free drinks will be available on the course, and there will be a dinner and silent auction. Carts are included. To sign up for a team or sponsor a hole, contact Wehrenberg at 618-281-7471.

“He would help me with my TEAMwork golf tournament and now we want to give back to him,” Wehrenberg said.

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