Before Aug. 11, 2002, Briana Walker's life was going in the direction she wanted it to. She was living with her friends in a beach house, just about to go into the police academy, and dating the guy she thought she was going to marry. But on that day, her plans suddenly took a drastic turn.Walker, of Anaheim, Calif., was driving to attend a Latter-day Saint ward to see a friend who was becoming reactivated in the church. As she was driving, she fainted at the wheel and drove into the center divider at 75 mph. Her car then skidded back onto the freeway, "doing a bunch of 360s" before crashing into a ditch. She remembers paramedics stabilizing her neck when she woke up after the crash."As they sat me up, not knowing that my back was in two pieces, my back buckled," she explained. The pain was so bad that it made her pass out. "I'd never experienced pain that was so bad that you just pass out from it."The accident resulted in partial paralysis, and Walker is now confined to a wheelchair. It also resulted in her being unable to attend the police academy and continue living at the beach house because it wasn't wheelchair-accessible. Her relationship with her boyfriend ended. But even though her life changed dramatically, it changed for the better, she said.Her father actually calls it "divine intervention" — Walker said he didn't want her to go into the police academy. "It really was a blessing, she said. My whole world exploded.Walker said she was never really around anyone in a wheelchair before her accident, so she didn't know what to expect. But because of that, "I was able to pave my own road."Walker set off on Thursday to battle a different kind of road a 1,400-mile road to be exact. She joined in on the cross-country Rise Above U.S. Bicycle Tour, which left Salt Lake Citys Liberty Park at noon. Using a 30-gear hand cycle, which she calls her stealth bomber, Walker, joined by the Utah hand cycling group TRAILS and a few others who wanted to join in, embarked on the tour in an effort to raise awareness about spinal cord injury and rehabilitation.This 4,200-mile Trans America Trail Ride began June 10 in San Francisco and will eventually reach Washington, D.C. Due to other engagements, Walker will only ride from Salt Lake City to about Oklahoma City, although she said she hopes to join the tour again near the end of the race."I'm eager and energized, and want to ride 100 miles a day," Walker said, although she thinks 30 to 50 miles might be more realistic. Walker uses that energy in many other aspects of her life. She is the spokeswoman for Overstock.com, an online retailer with headquarters in Utah.Just one year after the accident, she became the first female ever to be featured on the cover of Mobility Management magazine. She serves as the face of Colours in Motion, a wheelchair company that offers chairs for everyday use as well as innovative products designed for use in sporting events.In 2003, Walker joined with other Colours members, and together they founded the first wheelchair Hip Hop dance troupe. At the First Annual Vibe Music Awards, the troupe performed next to rapper Ludacris.Her favorite part of that, she said, was not performing live, but being backstage after the performance. The celebrities kept asking her when she was going to get out of costume. And she didn't understand what they were asking her."They said, 'When are you going to get out of the wheelchair? You've been in it this whole time.' I thought, 'Well, I'll get out of the wheelchair when theres a cure.' ""They all saw me as just a dancer sitting in a chair. They didn't see me as someone that was in a wheelchair. I was so flattered by that that I wanted to make it my goal from there on out, for people to see me before they see the chair."Walker also hopes to help others who have recently injured. She does this by serving as ambassador for the Life Rolls On Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides advocacy for young people whose lives have been affected by spinal cord injury. She also is an ambassador for Mary Kay Huntsman's Power in You organization."Any time I can relieve some of that burden or stress from a newly injured person, I feel like that's the reward." In 2006, Walker published the paperback "Dance Anyway," an autobiographical account of her life beginning the day of the accident. She is now working on a book of humorous wheelchair anecdotes titled "Does This Wheelchair Make My Butt Look Big?""It's been a lot of fun," Walker said of her life since the accident.She remembered an experience in the past week, when a boy saw her and said he felt sorry that she had to be in a wheelchair. She told him not to feel sorry."My life is great, I'm really happy. It's OK that this challenge came to me. I have a lot of great things going on in my life."