Charlie Cunningham Medical/Rehab

$152,451 of $300,002 goal

Raised by 2,330 people in 40 months
Jacquie Phelan
on behalf of Jacquie Phelan
 FAIRFAX, CA

In early August, 2015, Charlie Cunningham, bicycle builder, inventor and all around amazing person, fell off his bike and sustained several serious injuries.

Charlie suffered broken bones, bruises, and trauma to his head. At the time, he didn't feel his head injury was significant. Unfortunately, seven weeks later, the head injury manifested into a subdural hematoma, a life threatening condition that resulted in emergency brain surgery.  Having been about two minutes from death or complete vegetative state,  he endured a hell period of about six months, beginning with two months in intensive care, followed by months of doctor's visits and rehabiliitation. His days of getting around by bike were over, or so we thought.

Currently, Charlie is at the "plateau" level.  He has no sense of direction, nor much vision (his brain was affected, leaving the upper half of his visual field empty, as well as the periphery). But he is walking, speaking normally, with very little aphasia, and still working on learning the alphabet. he can read a simple news headline after about five minutes of careful study of each letter. We move about Marin on a gorgeous tandem, which will soon get a motor so we can go offroad, away from traffic.

His 'genius' resides now in his efforts to recover what most of us take for granted: balance, literacy and agency, the will to do things and make things, which seems to have disappeared when the brain bleed happened. Your donations will help to offset the costs of his rehabilitation and the visits to UC Berkeley Eye Clinic, and  the weekly respite care visits.  Thank you for your generosity.

A bit about the fund: it was dreamed up by Caroline James,  a good friend of Charlie and Jacquie's since the 1987.  She's an artist, web designer and was an early Wombat. Since the end of the first year of the fund, I have taken over most of the administration. Grant Petersen of Rivendell renown, and 1,200 donors like you have helped move us along, for which we're ever grateful.

+ Read More
Today, after pulling in an parking at Schurig Center (C's school) he climbed out and, instead of asking me which way to go, simply walked in the correct direction (the rear of the parking lot has a tall fence, to keep the pre-schoolers inside, at the neighboring child develoment center).
Yesterday we did a pretty rigorous hike to the local scenic falls--he groused, but did it.
As my friends insist: 'this is HUGE'. I had to share this.
+ Read More
As you may already know, Charlie has become an integral part of the musical scene I enjoy on Thursday evenings...in the old days, he wouldn't have gone with me--old timey tunes are MY thing. But since this er, thing...in 2015 happened he wouldnt miss Thursday night jams for the world.
Our gang was a little nonplussed by a story in the New Yorker about old time jam sessions...in a sort of "there goes the neighborhood" way.
I am grateful to already be in a jam, and with the weekly message being as bouncy and beguiling as the following, who could resist:
"The local chapter of the Emergency Tune Preparedness League will meet tomorrow night at the Temple of the Knights of Mercy, 43 Merde St. For the sake of the children, we will make the event Full On Pot Luck. If you wish to eat it or drink it, bring it. Bail money has been set aside for those encountering the LAW in posession of fiddle, banjo, guitar or mandolin. Apparently, the amnesty concerning concertinas is still in effect. Hope to see all there. Best, JP&JK&DD&Bjo, the cat. "
Killer, huh? Our host this week is the redoubtable John Pedersen, who personally turned me into a real musician by a proprietary combination of inclusion, browbeating, and bear hugs.
+ Read More
I was in the garden the other day. I 'd intended to just grab some mustard leaves, but found myself compulsively weeding the dreaded oxalis, a pretty shamrocky thing with neon yellow flowers and persistent, ineradicable bulbils. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxalis)
It was a nice afternoon, and though I told C. I 'd be "back in ten" it was about half an hour, and this silly ditty ran through my head (to the tune of Jefferson Airplane hit song Go Ask Alice)

One pull makes you angry and one pull makes you swoon
And the sunlight's gonna give you
a case of heatstroke before it's noon
Pull oxalis
Till you meet your doom

If you go
pulling weeds up
Cause you forgot to
Last fall
Better wear some chamois leather garden gloves
Cause your fingers are bloody raw
Oxalis
It will win the war

When the yard is a green ocean
of clover-leaved demonic spawn
And ' just stepped on a mushroom
That makes you slip and sprain your arm
Cry Oxalis
It wants to grow!
When gardeners and vile Round-up
are not options to be used
And the weed-pile keeps growing higher
But the ground hides a zillion bulbs
Remember what your mother said
Weed your bed!
+ Read More
Dear Danny,
i had to smile… when I reflect on your mighty comeback from the very edge of death two years ago, i have to say, well done on being so robust that you got busted riding with friends on the highest elevation trail on Mount Tam.

I appreciate hearing fresh updates on yr weekly epic rides, being almost the sole XX chromosome bearer and upholder of feminine probity.
Yr friend JP
PS. I do recommend subtle coloration—charlie would actually send me BACK INTO THE HOUSE to change clothes if there was a speck of white on my helmet, shirt, jacket, etc. My gear had to be buff, brown or green, no exceptions.
We also hid when we heard a plane overhead (I would make fun of it, but if I wanted to ride with him, I had to hide with him).
I ride in any color I please now, but wish I could hear him chide me again...he goes on walks these days, I ride.
That summertime RAGBRAI adventure seems to have cured him from wanting to ride a bike.
Any suggestions?
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Matthew McKibben
40 months ago

As a home builder, what can I build for you? Ramps? Let's do a build party day and get it sorted out before he's out of the ER.

+ Read More
Grant Petersen
40 months ago

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.

+ Read More
Lennard Zinn
40 months ago

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!

+ Read More
Paula Mara
40 months ago
6
6

Thank you Caroline, I am very grateful to you for making it possible to help our resourceful and generous friend THE Charlie Cunningham. Best wishes to all...XOXO

+ Read More
Alan Steinbach
39 months ago
3
3

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.

+ Read More
Ben Schultz
33 months ago
2
2

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...

+ Read More
Lisa Sebastian
36 months ago
2
2

I have had friends use this site to coordinate care/meals, etc: http://lotsahelpinghands.com. Wishing continual recovery for Charlie and some sleep for Jacquie. ♥

+ Read More
Mary James
37 months ago
2
2

Hi Jacquie, I love reading about Charlie's progress. Each small step being made gets him that much closer his goal! Keep the faith : )

+ Read More
Victor R. Hanson
40 months ago
2
2

Grant Cellini unicantor - just like Cinelli Bars in the early eighties because they had greater wall thickness to bend the bars. Here is to a speedy recovery Charlie - we want to see you on trails soon!

+ Read More
Pete Simpson
40 months ago
2
2

Great news Caroline! Thank you for the updates. Get well Charlie!!

+ Read More
Rob Wickens
40 months ago
2
2

Great info https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Cunningham I had seen his bike at the hall of fame in Fairfax. Speedy recovery Charlie!

+ Read More
Simon Sollberger
19 months ago
1
1

i can NOT wait to see that footage!!! I think of charlie every time i ride up Tam - and the other day i saw a gentleman with a cunningham racer - WALKING!! - i should have taken it away from him ; ) - still my holy grail of bikes - until then my 88 merlin will have to do - sending you love & strength

+ Read More
Mariann Jelinek
31 months ago
1
1

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.

+ Read More
Richard Dahlgren
32 months ago
1
1

Don't look back, Jacquie! Look forward - there are still a lot of good things, and will be more to come! Think about the progress Charlie has made to date.

+ Read More
Bevin Barber-Campbell
34 months ago
1
1

Ah, that photo brings back great old memories. Mountain biking would be so much less without the contributions from both of you!

+ Read More
Ben Schultz
34 months ago
1
1

From the Rock-Shox shoot! Fantastic style and attitude!

+ Read More
Maryann Pearson
34 months ago
1
1

Jacquie this post makes me smile. Seems your spirits are lifting! Walking Bon Tempe and thinking of mud baths - all good. Wishing you and Charlie more lake walks and soft landings.

+ Read More
George McLaird
35 months ago
1
1

Thanks for this update. I'm no expert but I have heard wonderful things about crawling to help the brain to function better. But I've also heard it doesn't help. So, give it a try and see for yourself. My a 1000 unexpected blessings come your way

+ Read More
Lisa Sebastian
36 months ago
1
1

The link I posted earlier about MCIL was a typo when it was originally posted. The person meant Marin Center for Inpendent Living, not Memphis. I thought that was confusing! Here is the correct link: http://www.marincil.org/

+ Read More
Lisa Sebastian
36 months ago
1
1

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/

+ Read More

$152,451 of $300,002 goal

Raised by 2,330 people in 40 months
Created October 5, 2015
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
$50
Anonymous
2 days ago
HR
$20
Howard Ramsay
4 days ago

Good news travels fast. Keep the faith & "Spread the Word."

KR
$18
K Will 94122 RBW
8 days ago

Charlie's a visionary, Jacquie's a riot, and Grant is persuasive.

$5
Bill Gibson
9 days ago

Our teacher strike worked, and I got a little raise after 10 years!

CS
$18
Chad Schoenthaler
11 days ago

Charlie has contributed so much to bicycling. I’m a big fan!

Matthew McKibben
40 months ago

As a home builder, what can I build for you? Ramps? Let's do a build party day and get it sorted out before he's out of the ER.

+ Read More
Grant Petersen
40 months ago

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.

+ Read More
Lennard Zinn
40 months ago

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!

+ Read More
Paula Mara
40 months ago
6
6

Thank you Caroline, I am very grateful to you for making it possible to help our resourceful and generous friend THE Charlie Cunningham. Best wishes to all...XOXO

+ Read More
Alan Steinbach
39 months ago
3
3

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.

+ Read More
Ben Schultz
33 months ago
2
2

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...

+ Read More
Lisa Sebastian
36 months ago
2
2

I have had friends use this site to coordinate care/meals, etc: http://lotsahelpinghands.com. Wishing continual recovery for Charlie and some sleep for Jacquie. ♥

+ Read More
Mary James
37 months ago
2
2

Hi Jacquie, I love reading about Charlie's progress. Each small step being made gets him that much closer his goal! Keep the faith : )

+ Read More
Victor R. Hanson
40 months ago
2
2

Grant Cellini unicantor - just like Cinelli Bars in the early eighties because they had greater wall thickness to bend the bars. Here is to a speedy recovery Charlie - we want to see you on trails soon!

+ Read More
Pete Simpson
40 months ago
2
2

Great news Caroline! Thank you for the updates. Get well Charlie!!

+ Read More
Rob Wickens
40 months ago
2
2

Great info https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Cunningham I had seen his bike at the hall of fame in Fairfax. Speedy recovery Charlie!

+ Read More
Simon Sollberger
19 months ago
1
1

i can NOT wait to see that footage!!! I think of charlie every time i ride up Tam - and the other day i saw a gentleman with a cunningham racer - WALKING!! - i should have taken it away from him ; ) - still my holy grail of bikes - until then my 88 merlin will have to do - sending you love & strength

+ Read More
Mariann Jelinek
31 months ago
1
1

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.

+ Read More
Richard Dahlgren
32 months ago
1
1

Don't look back, Jacquie! Look forward - there are still a lot of good things, and will be more to come! Think about the progress Charlie has made to date.

+ Read More
Bevin Barber-Campbell
34 months ago
1
1

Ah, that photo brings back great old memories. Mountain biking would be so much less without the contributions from both of you!

+ Read More
Ben Schultz
34 months ago
1
1

From the Rock-Shox shoot! Fantastic style and attitude!

+ Read More
Maryann Pearson
34 months ago
1
1

Jacquie this post makes me smile. Seems your spirits are lifting! Walking Bon Tempe and thinking of mud baths - all good. Wishing you and Charlie more lake walks and soft landings.

+ Read More
George McLaird
35 months ago
1
1

Thanks for this update. I'm no expert but I have heard wonderful things about crawling to help the brain to function better. But I've also heard it doesn't help. So, give it a try and see for yourself. My a 1000 unexpected blessings come your way

+ Read More
Lisa Sebastian
36 months ago
1
1

The link I posted earlier about MCIL was a typo when it was originally posted. The person meant Marin Center for Inpendent Living, not Memphis. I thought that was confusing! Here is the correct link: http://www.marincil.org/

+ Read More
Lisa Sebastian
36 months ago
1
1

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/

+ Read More
or
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.