As Rod Hutchins lay in a hospital bed 23 years ago after being paralyzed from the waist down, he dreamed up a lofty goal: to one day complete the Iron Man course in Kona, Hawaii.
"I've seen me crossing, with the Iron Dream Team, that finish line millions of times over the years as I've laid in a hospital bed or I've been in physical therapy or I've been sick," Hutchins told KIFI.
All those years ago Hutchins was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre, a rare immune disorder. It causes tingling and weakness in the legs which can spread to other parts of the body, and it can be life-threatening in severe cases. Though the symptoms are usually at their worst soon after the disease's sudden onset, recovery can take a long time.
Since he was diagnosed, Hutchins said he's almost died multiple times. He's undergone 21 surgeries, had two knees scoped, two hip replacements and a knee replacement, according to KIFI.
But Hutchins knew his goals. The Idaho man assembled a "dream team" of people, including fellow athletes, doctors and local business leaders, to help him get there.
"It's fun to work with Rod because he's so happy. He wants to get things done, when he literally falls down off his bike, he gets back up, blood and all, and he keeps going, and that's super amazing," said Mike Taylor, a member of the dream team.
This weekend Hutchins hit another milestone on his way to his ultimate Iron Man goal: placing third in his division at the The Great Snake River Triathlon in Idaho.
Though he will not compete in the Iron Man race, Hutchins plans to complete the Iron Man course in Kona, Hawaii, next April.
"I'm excited to be where we are, and I'm excited about what's ahead," he said.