800 KILOMETER RIDE TO RAISE FUNDS FOR INJURED SA TRIATHLETE
04 March 2014: In October 2012, former South African triathlete, Richard (Rich) Holland was hit by a car while cycling in Dubai and sustained multiple life-threatening injuries. After the accident, his family, realising that Rich would most likely need a lifetime of care, decided to set up an independent trust fund called Back On Your Bike, to help raise funds for his recovery.
Rich’s story is truly inspiring. In 2012, while training for an Iron Man event in Dubai, Rich was hit by a car from behind and suffered serious brain injuries, mainly to his brain stem that have left him unable to move and unable to talk. Due to his injuries, his brain is unable to send motor messages to his body, a condition known as locked-in syndrome. In essence he is fully cognitive and aware and awake but cannot move or communicate verbally due to the brain stem damage. As a result, Rich requires 24-hour supervision, and constant turning and care to avoid pressure sores.
At the beginning of last year his mother Judy Rothschild, who was living in Australia, with the rest of the family at the time, decided to bring him home to Cape Town where his family could care for him and assist with his ongoing recovery. Although his prognosis is still very unclear, Rich continues to show signs of recovery after months of intensive neuro and physiotherapy, he is now starting to move his fingers and toes slightly and is in the process of learning how to swallow solid foods again.
The money raised through the Back On Your Bike Fund is used to support Rich’s medical needs and recovery, including intensive neurological and physical rehabilitation and three daily liquid feeds through PEG tubes. The family also set up a website which provides updates on Rich’s recovery and information on how the public can get involved. From individual and corporate donations to fundraising events and awareness activities, every little bit helps.
To raise awareness and funds for Rich and the Back On Your Bike Fund, close friends Andrew Hall and Chris Brown will be riding in the Absa Cape Epic mountain bike race. The race covers over 800 kilometers of mountainous terrain and lasts eight days. This year it is taking place from 22 – 30 March.
Brown says, “We decided that participating in the Cape Epic would be a great way to raise awareness for Rich, his condition and the Back On Your Bike Fund. Bearing the fund’s name in mind and Rich’s love for endurance cycling, we felt that it would only be fitting to take part in South Africa’s toughest mountain bike race. All donations made to the Back On Your Bike Fund go towards Rich’s continual medical care, extensive rehabilitation and medical equipment.
The road to recovery for Rich is going to be the greatest challenge of his life. However, with his amazing spirit and determination we have no doubt that he is going to make it. We want to honour his bravery and do all that we can to support him. We want to raise awareness for the fund. We want to see Rich back on his bike”.
About the Back On Your Bike Fund
Please visit the website www.backonyourbike.com to find out how you can get involved. From individual and corporate donations to fundraising events and awareness activities, every little bit will help. The website also provides more information on Rich, his accident and recovery. There is also a Facebook page and Twitter feed. Follow @BackOnYourBike and tweet using #TeamRich.