Charlie Cunningham Medical/Rehab
Charlie suffered broken bones, bruises, and trauma to his head. At the time, he didn't feel his head injury was significant. Unfortunately, six weeks later, the head injury manifested into a subdural hematoma, a life threatening condition that resulted in emergency brain surgery.
Currently, Charlie is in the hospital, recovering. His condition is stable, semi-conscious, but he cannot walk, talk or safely swallow food yet. He is making very slow steps to regain very basic tasks. The road to recovery is going to be long and involve many specialists to help him get back to his former self. Charlie's wife Jacquie Phelan, racer and ladies cycling advocate, is teaching him basic speech, in tandem with his speech/swallow therapists. Their home will need modifications to allow him to live there. It is unknown how long he will be wheelchair bound. Your donations will help to offset the costs of his rehabilitation and the "ramping up" of his home (Offhand Manor). Thank you for your generosity.
A bit about me: I'm a friend of Charlie and Jacquie's, since the 80's. An early Wombat and bicycle painter, just helping out a friend. All funds go to Charlie. :)
And now, he'll ride (when feeling brave--right now it's a walk he's on) short, but still quite terrifying rides.
Yesterday was a gift--we got a visit from the great George Work--a friend from 1983 who moved to Denmark and has raised 2 sons with his wife Elsabet Schmidl, classical viola player in a few orchestras....George was pals with Laurence Malone, and Charlie bequeathed each of them one of his bicycles...Malone for his racing prowess (5 nat championships in cyclocross, and many mtn bike wins) and Work for his advocacy and articulation of the bicycle as a revolutionary eco-tool. Right in line with Charlie's velosophy. We walked, talked and then listed to two fine Bach pieces. Wish I could name them. Charlie of course knew each by heart...
In other news, our new friend --Mark Kirkland, who directs and draws the Simpsons for the last 27 yrs,--will have a fresh one out this Sunday, watch for it: "Fatzcarraldo".
I wrote a fan-card to the author of Outside Lies Magic, and have carried on a pleasant 20 yr corresp. with him. He's a great converser, and I would love to sit in on his course at Harvard some time...but you, faithful reader/rider, can enjoy him too.
Charlie is one of half-a-handful of modern bicycle geniuses and personal heroes of mine (and I am basically "anti-hero"). Everything I know about him, I love. Everything he's ever designed or made or innovated on his own personal bike, I admire and wished I was that smart. I'm so sorry to hear of this accident. Of course we all want him back on his superlight plastic saddle, held by the seat post that also holds a pump. Go, Charlie.
This is a tragedy and a wake-up call about head injuries and getting them checked out and monitored for a long time afterward. I was just thinking about Charlie last week; I was riding on Mt. Tam since 1981 at Thanksgiving when I rode it with Charlie and a number of other friends. He is creative genius, and a great human being to boot; I hope he gets his full faculties back soon. Get better soon, Charlie, and hang in there, Jacquie!
OMG! I am kinda the Cunningham FP, having provided care for Bruce, Charlie's fighter pilot and custom home builder dad, and his tiny book and social antiquarian mom Carol. As a late comer to the world of off road biking, and having been privileged to visit Charlie's shop, I just wanted to confirm the need for this kind of funding effort. For all the closed head injuries that our lifestyle generates, we have a very unsupportive neuro-rehab environment here in the US and A. Maybe the rising tide of reality about football injuries will help, but not in time for Charlie. Any contribution you can make will really make a difference in his recovery.
Jacquie, while I absolutely love his thoughts on greeting age, something many of us are currently doing, my favorite thing is when he talks about the "milky silver finish". This finish is what I always thought was SO beautiful about Campy (you should excuse the expression!) equipment. As far as your personal struggle with responsibility, most of us have been there...we travel a path that is comfortable for us, where we can make the most of our abilities, and then when the situation changes, radically in your case, the flexibility we all develop allows us to change directions. You can do it. You have your friends in your area, and hundreds outside of that. We are all breaking as much wind for you both as is possible. Actually, that's maybe not the best choice of words...
Yep. And "death-grip somersault " can be a lovely metaphor for how stuck we get in our own heads and fears, sometimes. Make that time to meditate, soak in a tub, walk in the woods, breathe, even write for 15 minutes or an hour: you've got to take care of YOU to be able to carry on. Peace and strength, Jacquie.
I shared the link to Deer Park's Nextdoor.com community to let people know what's going on in case they want to contribute/help. Some suggestions came back that you may already have heard of: Marin Villages: http://www.marinvillages.org/content.aspx?page_id=0&club_id=134956 Brain Injury Network: http://www.binba.org Memphis Center for Independent Living (not sure what their national outreach is, but they were recommended): https://sites.google.com/site/mcilaction/
Jacquie, Caregivers get the short end of the stick, no matter how much they are committed. The airlines have it right: put your own mask on first. It sounds like you have a great group of friends there, and I hope thay can give you the help you need. Keep up the good work.