Kristina Ripatti-Pearce: Paralyzed Former Police Officer Competes In 'Race Across America' To Send L.A. Kids To College

05/22/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Four years ago, Los Angeles police officer Kristina Ripatti-Pearce was paralyzed when she was shot while responding to a robbery in progress. Despite her injury, Ripatti-Pearce remains an active athlete, competing in races like the Boston Marathon on her handcycle.

This spring, Ripatti-Pearce will be taking off on the 3,000 mile Race Across America to support a charity close to her heart. Operation Progress is a local nonprofit that was founded by members of the South L.A. police force who were inspired by the community's youth, who struggled to get a good education and steer clear of gang involvement, but didn't have the financial means to attend college. To respond to this need, Operation Progress provides education scholarships to help at-risk youth reach college.