Pete Zeidner was born in 1958 to an immigrant family in Cleveland, Ohio. As a baby with cerebral palsy, he was not expected to live. Since then, cerebral palsy (CP) has limited his ability to walk, use his hands and speak. Pete lost his mother in a car accident when he was just four years old. His father remarried and Pete’s new mother, who believed in tough love, became the most influential person in Pete’s life. When Pete was five years old, she weaned him off the baby bottle, potty-trained him, and helped him learn to eat by himself.
At the age of eight, Pete’s parents took him out of second grade and started working with him based on the philosophy that a child needs to be able to creep/crawl before he/she can walk. During the first three years of this very rigorous program, Pete was not allowed on his feet. By the end of the sixth grade, Pete was able to walk and function well enough to be integrated into St. Mark Lutheran School in Cleveland. Pete was the only student with a disability and fortunately, only a few adjustments needed to be made to accommodate him. This was the first time Pete was able to be independent of his parents and to make friends.
Pete began high school in 1974, at Lutheran High School West. At 16, he felt cheated by his disability as he watched his friends receive their drivers’ licenses. After graduating from high school, Pete enrolled at a community college and took televised classes. The following spring semester, he began taking classes on campus, after convincing the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Services to pay for a Bachelor’s degree at a state school. Pete soon transferred to Kent State University (KSU) and graduated in 1986, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, with a major in Marketing.
Pete went on to use his marketing talents to inspire thousands to join him to fulfill his vision to fund cerebral palsy research to prevent and treat the effects of CP, formally founding the Pedal with Pete Foundation in 1993. The Pedal with Pete Family continues to grow and live out his legacy, inspired by Pete’s determination and that of so many others we’ve met who live with cerebral palsy.
We celebrated and remembered Pete’s extraordinary life and legacy together as we also mourned his passing at a memorial service that was held on Saturday, March 30, 2019 in Kent at Faith Lutheran Church. Pete’s obituary can be found here
. To read even more about Pete’s inspirational story, purchase his autobiography