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Toyota-United to help paralyzed former Mexican national champion

By:
Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Published:
May 10, 2008, 0:00 BST,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 19:20 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, May 10, 2008
Fausto Munoz (right) on the podium at the 2006 Univest Grand Prix

Fausto Munoz (right) on the podium at the 2006 Univest Grand Prix

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In a high-speed crash in the final stage of the Tour of Gila in Silver City, New Mexico last...

In a high-speed crash in the final stage of the Tour of Gila in Silver City, New Mexico last weekend, Fausto Muñoz Esparza suffered serious, life-altering injuries. The former Mexican National Champion is in critical, but stable condition in the intensive care unit of El Paso's Thomason Hospital in Texas with a broken back which has left him paralyzed from the waist down.

"He is very depressed and not sure what to make of this terrible situation. His wife, three children and parents have all come to El Paso to be by his side for the next three weeks until he gets out of the hospital" said Jose Manuel "Chepe" Garcia, a Toyota-United rider and personal friend of the 33 year-old Esparza.

The Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team announced Friday that its riders and staff have donated US$5,000 in cash to help Muñoz Esparza. In addition, the team will auction off a team jersey signed by all 14 riders on eBay beginning Monday, May 12 in order to provide the general public with an opportunity to show their support for Fausto and his family.

"When I first heard how bad his accident was from Scott Moninger, (Assistant Team Director for Toyota-United), I immediately sprung into action and called Chepe who is a friend of Fausto's to see what was up," said Team Owner Sean Tucker. "I could hear in his voice how upset he was and how Fausto is very depressed and makes his living racing a bike, which is no longer the case."

"Being the Team Owner watching my riders risk everything each week… I then spoke with our riders and staff and we all agreed to do something for Fausto no matter how small…but we want to start the ball rolling in hopes that other teams and fans will follow suit to help Fausto in his time of need," said Tucker.

Private donations are also welcome and may be submitted to Wells Fargo Bank, Attn: Fausto Muñoz Esparza Donation Fund, 1201 N. Pope Street, Silver City, NM 88061 USA. Letters of support may be sent to C/O Thomason Hospital, Patient: Fausto Esparza, ICU/12, 4815 Alameda Avenue, El Paso, TX 79905 USA.

For more information on the auction, visit www.toyota-united.com.

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