There are some who might have thought that Colleen Kelly Alexander, after getting run over by a freight truck last October while she was riding her bike at the intersection of Boston Post Road and Neck Road in Madison, would never want to ride again.
They would be wrong. After flat-lining twice after the accident, being brought back to life, and enduring a year-long process of recovery that has involved multiple painful and frightening surgeries, she is back riding.
As time and her recovery allows, she's also advocating for bike safety, encouraging bike riders to wear bike helmets, and talking with law enforcement officials in Madison about ways to improve conditions for bikers and walkers on the road.
She's also been tapped as a spokesperson to encourage people to give blood and is talking with our emergency responders in town about how she might support them. This, all while the area's top surgeons are piecing her back together, with one excruciating surgery after another.
She says she'll never forget her first day back on a bike, an adaptive bike she used while undergoing physical rehabilitation at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, which is based in Wallingford, CT.
Colleen is so thankful for that bike, and for the care she received at Gaylord, that she is giving back in yet another way, by helping Gaylord put on its first annual Cycling Tour.
The tour will raise money to help Gaylord Specialty Healthcare patients. Specifically, Colleen would like to raise enough money to pay for four adaptive bikes. Costing around $3,000 each, these bikes can be used by people with many different kinds of disabilities to ride bike paths, trials, and road.
The Cycling Tour will October 20, 2012 and it will take place at the Farmington Canal Linear Trail in Simsbury beginning at 8:00 a.m. The event is a tour, not a race. It will start at Chubb Insurance, at 82 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury, CT and is designed so that we can have fun while helping to raise funds for this great cause.
I'm guessing that the anniversary of the accident is not going to be an easy day for Colleen, who is not only a role model for me but now also a friend. I'm going to honor her that day by signing up for this ride. I hope you'll consider doing so as well.
How to register:
Here is the information from Gaylord Specialty Healthcare Sports Association website about how to register:
2012 Gaylord Hospital Sports Association Cycling Tour
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Farmington Canal Linear Trail
Simsbury, CT 06070
Enjoy the fall foliage with a cycling tour along the Farmington Canal Linear Trail and help the Sports Association at Gaylord Hospital continue to bring quality adaptive sports programming to people with physical disabilities. Choose from the 10-mile ride ($50), 25-mile ride ($100) or 50-mile ride ($100). Registration deadline: October 18, 2012. Register at: http://www.active.com/cycling/simsbury-ct/sports-association-of-gaylord-hospital-cycling-tour-2012
This benefit event is coordinated by former Gaylord patient Colleen Kelly Alexander. Colleen was seriously injured when she was run over by a freight truck while biking home from work. Read Colleen's story and join her on October 20th. Proceeds from this event will help purchase adaptive bikes for the Gaylord Sports Association.
And here is the press release from Gaylord Specialty Healthcare
October 20th Event Organized by Patient Colleen Alexander of Clinton; Funds Raised will go towards the Purchase of Adaptive Bicycles
WALLINGFORD, CT (October 4, 2012) – When Clinton resident Colleen Alexander was severely injured in the Fall of 2011 while cycling along Boston Post Road, her life changed forever – and now, she’s working to raise awareness about cycling safety, and raise money for the hospital she attributes to helping her reclaim her life.
On October 20, 2012, Colleen, along with Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, is organizing the first annual Cycling Tour, which will take place at the Farmington Canal Linear Trail beginning at 8:00 a.m. The event is a tour, not a race, so that anybody can join in the fun and help raise funds to help other Gaylord Specialty Healthcare patients.
Colleen Alexander, an avid cyclist, was severely injured in 2011 when she was cycling and was struck by a freight truck. The accident left her with major open wounds, damaged legs and a crushed pelvic bone. Despite being unresponsive twice, and undergoing several surgeries (with several more to go), she is now able to walk and has persevered. She credits Gaylord Specialty Healthcare with not only healing her body, but also giving her her life back.
“My recovery would not have been possible without the determination and passion that is shown by the physical therapists, doctors and staff at Gaylord. Their mission to help patients become active once again is evident in the extensive services and caring atmosphere they provide,” said Alexander. “At Gaylord, they heal the whole person – not just the injuries. I’m organizing this event to give back not because they saved my life, but because they let me reclaim my life.”
Colleen’s goal for the Cycling Tour is to raise funds to purchase four adaptive bikes for patients of Gaylord Specialty Healthcare. Adaptive bikes, which cost around $3,000 each, are often three wheels and are customized for people with a wide variety of disabilities, offering greater stability and function as they access bike paths, trails, and roads.
“Getting on the adaptive bicycle for the first time after the event was so freeing and a symbol of hope for me,” she added. “I want to be able to provide that for others.”
“Colleen’s road to recovery is extraordinary. Her compassion, coupled with her abilities to empower and educate others, is uplifting as she still continues to heal from such a tragic accident,” said Todd Munn, Coordinator of Gaylord Hospital Sports Association. “On behalf of Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, we are honored to be supporting Colleen in this event and appreciate her hard work in providing additional resources to our patients.”
About Gaylord Specialty Healthcare
Gaylord Specialty Healthcare (GSH), headquartered in Wallingford, Connecticut is a not-for profit long-term 137 bed acute care hospital that specializes in the care and treatment of people with medically complex and intensive rehabilitation issues. Gaylord also operates outpatient therapy centers in Wallingford and North Haven, and sleep medicine centers in Glastonbury, Guilford, North Haven and Trumbull.