Callan Bancilhon was born in 1990 with a streak of excitement in his blood. He was raised into a life of motorbikes and fast cars and rode in his first race at the age of 7, setting him up for a life of competition, triumph and thrills - this kept his family on the edge of their seats.
Callan was 12 years old, racing motocross at a State Level, when everything came crashing down. Callan’s destiny changed forever that day, it was September 22nd 2002 at the Northwest Round in Paraburdoo. It was the last lap, Cal was leading, he took the last corner and headed for the table top, these would be the last few moments that Callan remembers. The bike flew over the jump, but stalled in mid-air, he rode it out, but without any brakes Cal was unable to level the bike and that’s when everything went terribly wrong. Callan came crashing down and not only did he take a massive fall, but the bike landed on the back of his head. He was knocked out instantly, and there he lay. Our lives would never be the same. A life changing moment all in a split second.
From there he was air lifted by the RFDS to Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) where he was put into an induced coma which lasted 10 days. Doctors didn’t think he would survive, and we lost him twice in that time, but he fought back. The prognosis was discouraging and the hope of him waking was very slim. So we sat by the bed every waking hour talking to him and begging him to come back to us. We weren’t ready to let him go, and luckily Cal wasn’t ready to give up either. The diagnosis was a (TBI) Traumatic Brain Injury. The main damage being found in the Basal Ganglia and Left Temporal Lobe area. After 10 long days and nights it was time to bring him out for the 3rd time, which miraculously worked. Cal then spent the next 5 months in PMH fighting for each day; this would be where he would face another major hurdle in his young life.
Despite the medical team’s prognosis, Cal proved them all wrong. He would now ride out the most important race of his life. Each day, as supporters, mechanics and pit crew we were all busy making sure at the start of each day he was cleaned and fuelled, ready to kick ass. Ensuring he got back on if he fell off and making sure he knew he had our full support right until the end. He was now competing for his quality of life, and each day we were seeing more than ever the courage, the support and the friendship that kept us pushing to reach the podium. Cal battled through the sweat and tears and re-learnt how to walk and talk again, day by day... the simple things in life that we all take for granted.
From there on, each day counted and every treatment was attempted. It became a painful and very exhausting obsession for all of us. Cal travelled to Melbourne on several occasions to undertake 5 week intensive hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions, he underwent operations countless times including Bone Grafts, endured numerous Botox injections , all while weekly visits were continued to Bowen Therapy, Acupuncture, Kinesiology Reiki, Hypnosis, Magnetic Healing & Point Percussion therapies. We were desperate for recovery.
All these years later we are still seeing results and never give up hope. In January 2014, Callan travelled to America on vacation and whilst there visited one of the world’s best rehabilitation centres, “Project Walk” He met with therapists and explored his options. They wanted Cal to come back and we wanted nothing more but to see him strive to reach his full potential. With the costs reaching 10’s of thousands of dollars we had to be realistic and come up with a different option.
Through further research we stumbled across a spinal injury rehabilitation program based in Perth called “Walk on” Although Cal does not suffer from a Spinal injury, they were happy for us to access the program. So we then spent weeks with daily appointments in Perth and for the first time we saw Callan walk correctly, swinging his arms, and with a massive grin on his face. Family and friends of Cal were left with goose bumps; words could not explain the inspiration felt in that room. Each small step, tears dropped to the floor – Our little legend was at it again heading for that podium.
Unfortunately though, as well as Project Walk, this Perth based program is not a Government funded resource, therefore all costs have to be covered upfront by patients attending this centre. This is where Cal's Will To Walk all began in June 2014. We started the fundraiser in the hope of reaching a $5,000 goal to send Cal to Perth's Walk On. However, with the help of each & every one of you, you weren't letting us just settle for that. Within 24 hours of launching we had increased our goal & set our eyes back on Project Walk Los Angeles. This Journey has taken us 3 years. With multiple quiz nights, donations, even chucking in a 500 km ride from Perth to Geraldton and with a whole lot of Love from you all in September 2015 on Callan's anniversary we reached our goal of $40,000!
Since then Cal continues to travel to Perth monthly where we have been working with the neurology physiotherapy team at Fiona Stanley who have come up with some great ideas and a whole new training program, So it was back to the gym and time on the pushbike, as we planned the next 12 months to ensure we made the most of the incredible gift we have been given from you all.
Finally after a lot of planning & even a quick visit to LA where I was able to tour the centre we have just booked Cal’s trip to Project Walk America. He will be travelling over in July 2017, where he will spend the next 3 months attending the facility every day spending 8 hours a week in a specifically designed program to help Cal improve his balance and gait. It is going to be a huge challenge for Cal being in a different country for so long, one that will need total focus to ensure we make the most out of everyone’s commitment to Cal.
Sadly some days his disability gets the better of him and he loses all motivation, but Callan is very blessed to have a circle of very physically & mentally powerful people that empower him to strive and keep pushing on. Life hasn’t always been easy, but with every small victory that Callan has, it is just a reminder of how lucky we are to have this guy with us, and for that, we appreciate and take on every struggle with the desire for his improvement.
Anyone that has had the opportunity to meet Cal, will know, he is a very witty and sometimes quite cheeky character. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank Cal’s Support team. The friends that have stuck by his side and continued to push him; the boys that took him under their wings and the girls who let him get away with being so cheeky! To Mum for your unconditional love, my best friends for all the times you picked me up at my worst, Nan and Pop for putting your life on hold for us, and to all of our extended family and friends for their continued love, strength and support, we thank you!!.
We want nothing more than for Cal to ride high and settle for nothing but his best, he has the world at his feet and we are here every step of the way. For those of you who have taken the time to read the story of this incredible son, brother, nephew, grandson cousin and friend Thank YOU for joining his support team! Thank you for all your love.