This past February, Annie Byrne was holding the first cycling camp that she had created and offered through her bike shop, BFF Bikes. The camp was held in Tucson, AZ, involved 16 cyclists, and was extremely successful until the last day of the camp. On the final ride, with two miles left, Annie hit something and flew over her handlebars, and landed on her head hard. Luckily, a trauma ER doctor was driving by, saw her on the ground having seizures, stopped to help and knew she needed to get to the hospital STAT, so she was soon airlifted to the hospital.
Once at the hospital, she was put in a medically induced coma for several days, and it was discovered that she had broken her collarbone and a bone on the back of her skull, was paralyzed on her right side, Cat scans revealed her brain was bleeding, and she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs have a recovery window of six months to two years.
Luckily, when she came out of the coma she regained some movement on her right side. She stayed in the Tucson hospital all of March and after an intensive rehab program returned to Chicago in early April.
While she has made great strides with the physical effects of the accident, her brain injury will take much longer to heal, and makes it difficult for Annie to concentrate on her business and limits her ability to work.
But – Annie remains optimistic. Personally, I’d be super bummed, but Annie is so grateful to have survived the crash and for all the moral support that has come her way. She continues to be brave about her situation and continues her various therapies in hopes of returning to her full life.
Prior to her accident Annie was a passionate bicyclist – as a racer and also for fun. Though it is a really big deal that she lost her ability to ride, she remains super supportive of the sport.
Meanwhile, BFF BIKES …
Annie is the sole owner of her Chicago bike shop, BFF Bikes, which is now being managed by dedicated staff members who did an amazing job keeping the shop running while Annie was hospitalized. They continue to do the best they can with Annie’s limited presence at the shop. The staff have taken on more responsibilities, as Annie is forced to focus on recovery.
BFF Bikes opened four years ago in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago and was the first bike shop in the Midwest that was specifically geared towards women. BFF Bikes has the largest women’s racing team in Chicago, hosts many events, training classes, clinics, group rides and has developed a large community of bicyclists who love the kinship they’ve found at BFF Bikes.
BFF has become an important part of the Chicagoland cycling community and the Bucktown neighborhood and Annie is committed to seeing it continue to be a community asset
However, not only is Annie facing uncertainty as to the duration of her healing process, but unfortunately she also has sustained many financial hardships due to the accident which have left her in the position of not being able to meet her financial obligations. Annie is financially supported by her business, and the higher business expenses during this time to cover her absence along with business sales suffering due to her absence have created a bottom line that has caused Annie to be less certain about the future of BFF Bikes, which is very worrisome and unsettling for her.
This fund was organized for two main purposes.
One, because the financial burdens are stressful for Annie, we are hoping that if we are able to raise enough money to ease that stress in her life that she’ll be able to relax during this healing phase and thus make faster strides in the recovery process and brain healing. Second, and the most important reason in her eyes, is because she does not want BFF Bikes to stop being the community asset it is, specifically for women’s cycling. Annie is proud that BFF has become an important access point and resource for cyclists and makes an important impact on Chicago’s women’s cycling scene; she wants nothing more than for that to continue.
Annie and BFF Bikes have added so much to Chicago and the biking community; if you’d like to see the impact she has made continue and also help her healing process, we hope you will consider donating to this fund. All sized donations will help and are appreciated!
Your support means so much to Annie—thank you for your consideration. And please, do share this on your social media!
DonationsSee top donations
- Laurie Hanson
- Jane Santogrossi
- Kevin & Aletha Noonan
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