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Quadriplegic's dream of hiking Appalachian Trail gets boost

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COLUMBUS, Ga. – Two men have raised more than $14,000 to help their friend buy a special wheelchair and other equipment to achieve his dream of hiking the 78.6-mile Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail.  

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that 43-year-old O'Ree Crittenden was paralyzed in 2001, when he jumped into the ocean from a pier in Pensacola, Florida, to retrieve a boy's lost kite.  

O'Ree says he's "overwhelmed" at the outpouring of support.  

The Columbus newspaper ran a May 1 feature story on efforts by Lee Griffith and Chad Pepper to raise the money for their former high school classmate. At the time, they'd collected $1,725 from 31 donors in two months on their page at GoFundMe.com, which helps people raise money for various causes.  

Now, they've collected more than $14,000 from more than 70 donors.