A life-altering accident can affect each person in different ways, bringing a unique flood of thoughts, strong emotions and uncertainty. Being able to “bounce back” from these situations is in part due to resilience. Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.¹
This is Kelly’s inspirational story.
In early December 2021 Kelly was on a social bicycle ride in Garfield, rural Victoria, with several of her friends.
Homeward bound and cycling at speed Kelly was in a life-altering accident. As she lay on the road unconscious each breath became a struggle for life. Everyone anxiously awaited the arrival of an ambulance.
Once in the care of the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, the x-rays confirmed twenty broken bones and a crushed oesophagus causing internal bleeding.
Kelly underwent two major surgeries on her upper spine and was placed in a medically-induced coma for six days.
Within hours of being brought out of the coma, a disorientated Kelly was able to briefly communicate with the multitude of family and friends who had been texting their well wishes since the day of the accident.
By early January, under the guidance of her Surgeon and Doctor, Kelly’s rehabilitation started with regular sessions from her local physiotherapist.
Two weeks after the removal of the thirty staples from her spine, she enthusiastically joined a therapeutic swimming group at Cardinia Life, as well as commencing a gentle exercise program with her triathlon coach, all under the guidance of her Surgeon.
It would have been easy to give up after experiencing such a traumatic accident. Many do isolate themselves and take on the mantle of victim.
But not Kelly.
Kelly has taken charge of her life by proactively investing in her health and well-being throughout her recovery. Yes, there are dark days and sometimes the “what if scenarios” can crowd the brain. As Kelly will confirm, this is just a part of the resilience journey.
By the end of February the Surgeon told Kelly that she had progressed further in three months than most people with similar injuries have after two years.
A tribute to her courage and determination.
Kelly believes her fast recovery has been the result of a team effort, and has sincere gratitude for her exceptional surgeon and medical team at the Alfred Hospital; Charlie, her coach, who carefully planned a program to meet her physical and mental needs at each stage; Rose and Paige from Cardinia Life; Tori, her patient physiotherapist; Simone, her masseuse; all the ladies at Ultimate Indulgence Spa Clinic; Jordan Crugnale MP; Casey Cardinia Triathlon Squad (CCTS), and, of course, her family.
Kelly recently ran her first 15km at the Run for the Kids event in Melbourne on Sunday 3 April, just over three months after her bicycle accident. She is back swimming laps and has had several sessions at the Warragul Velodrome on her old bike.
Kelly is a 58-year-old triathlete, who joined triathlon a couple of years ago for both the social and health benefits. A softly-spoken, generous, humble mother of six and successful dairy farmer, Kelly is a much-loved member of the Casey Cardinia Triathlon Squad (CCTS), where she is also on the volunteer Committee.
This article was written by CCTS to honour Kelly, for her true warrior spirit, and for those seeking inspiration on their road to resilience.
All photographs kindly supplied by Kelly for use by CCTS.