19 June 2020

Andrew to take on the Spine Tingling Ride in 2017

| My Gungahlin
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In the new year Gungahlin local, Andrew is taking the Spine Tingling Ride from Canberra to Humpty Doo, a 5,450 mountain bike ride. Read on to find out why and how you can help.

In early 2010 local Gungahlin family, the Kerec’s world was shaken when the patriarch of the family was involved in a freak bike accident. Ludvig Kerec was riding his bicycle on a Sunday afternoon as part of his final ‘wind down’ preparation for the Port Macquarie Ironman Triathlon event that he was to undertake with his son Malcolm on the following weekend.

Ludvig was hit by another cyclist who was on the wrong side of the cycle path around a corner and they both came off their bikes. There were no apparent physical injuries to either of them apart from a few scratches. The other cyclist got up. Ludvig didn’t. His helmet strap had ‘garrotted’ his neck and caused a dislocation of his spine around the C5/C6 vertebrae level. His spinal cord was intact but badly bruised and he had instantly lost pretty much all function below his chest including his hands and chest muscles. The Kerec hoped for some recovery of function in the ensuing months – none came and Ludvig had become, and remains, a C5/C6 quadriplegic.

After an accident causing severe spinal cord injury – it is critical that initial treatment/surgery is performed as soon as possible to maximise the chances of any recovery of function. It is generally only available in the major cities (of which Canberra is not) and well over 24 hours was lost in transferring Ludvig to Sydney after his accident.

In the several months that the Kerec’s were in the Spinal Unit at the Prince of Wales hospital it became very obvious that the biggest barrier to many patients going home was not appropriate recovery, but availability of appropriate care and accommodation. Some spinal cord injury patients they came to know languished in hospital for up to a year waiting for renovations or housing availability.

The only reason the Kerec’s got their father back home when he was healthy enough was because they were able to make modifications to their new home (that was under construction) – and Ludvig’s wife and son Andrew provided all of dads health and hygiene care for 12 months. If they didn’t, he would have remained in hospital for another year. Even now, the available morning hygiene care the family has sourced is provided not because he is a Quadriplegic, but because he is an ‘Aged Person’.

The Kerec’s feels very strongly about:

  • Improving the availability, range and quality of initial and ongoing treatments and rehabilitation for anyone that suffers a spinal cord injury
  • Increasing the availability and affordability of appropriate care and accommodation options for anyone that suffers a spinal cord injury. Hospital is not the place to be if you do not need to be there
  • Increasing the quantity and quality of accessible or easily adaptable homes in general

In March 2017 Ludvig’s son Andrew will take on The Spine Tingling ride which is a 5,450km mountain bike journey connecting two places near and dear to the hearts of all of the Kerec men. He will start at his parents home in Forde and end at cherished family friends home in Humpty Doo, Darwin two months later.

Andrew said, “My dad has conquered the physical and mental impact of his injury, but social exclusion is an ongoing anxiety. In the majority of cases, he can no longer visit family and friends as he simply cannot access their homes.” “I hope to go a long way to achieving the above by supporting and raising funds and awareness for an exciting research/clinical trail (Project Edge), a supportive local, not-for-profit organisation (Hartley Lifecare), as well as simple accessible housing design guidelines (Livable Housing Australia).”

This is how you can help. Andrew is covering all the expenses associated with the challenge, so all funds raised through their website will do directly to Hartley Lifecare and Project Edge. You can pledge now, donate later. Donations won’t be collected until after Andrew has completed the ride. For all donations received you will receive a tax deductible receipt. Pledge here: www.thespinetinglingride.com.au/pledge

Andrew is also looking for people to join him on sections of his journey. I reckon we should get a group of mountain bikers together to form a send-off for him. I’ll certainly join in, I just have to get a bike!

You can follow the story here www.facebook.com/thespinetinglingride

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