We are with you Loz
Just over 2 weeks from racing Ironman Australia in Port Macquarie, on 18 April 2017, Lauren had a catastrophic bike accident in training that resulted in serious injuries to Lauren. Lauren’s injuries include a punctured lung, a broken scapula, broken ribs, a shattered pelvis, a broken T12 vertebrae and spinal cord damage. Lauren was admitted to the ICU at The John Hunter Hospital and underwent spinal surgery within hours of the accident, however Lauren remains paralysed from the belly button down and Doctors have given Lauren a very small chance of ever walking again. On 20 April 2017 Lauren was flown to the Royal North Shore Spinal Cord Injury Unit in Sydney for further treatment and ongoing rehabilitation. Lauren’s treatment could take up to 12 months and Lauren’s beautiful Mum, Anne (Loz’s best friend and biggest supporter) will be by her side.
Lauren and her family will face significant expenses over the next 12 months and beyond. From the outset, Lauren’s Mum has taken time away from work and will incur expenses associated with accommodation so that she can be with Lauren during her rehabilitation in Sydney.
For anyone that has ever had anything to do with Lauren, you will know that she is incredibly humble and kind, has a smile that just warms your soul and is one of the most consistent and committed athletes there is. Although Loz has faced setbacks in her life and as an athlete, through patience and sheer determination, Loz has always conquered any obstacles in her path.
Lauren comes from an elite swimming background, having competed at State and National levels and training with various Newcastle clubs. Loz was also a well regarded member of the Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club before beginning triathlon in 2008. Lauren initially began racing Sprint and Olympic distance events before setting her sights on the Ironman distance in 2014. Just 12 months later, Loz’s hard work and perseverance were rewarded when she qualified for and raced the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in 2015.
The many communities that Lauren is a part of are in absolute shock at the news of Lauren’s accident. At a time when the pain of looking forward probably seems too great for Lauren, we ask Loz to look beside her because we are here. We are here in the hundreds and thousands, we are here from all over the world from all different walks of life and we are all rallying for such an incredible [Iron]woman. We know that whatever the future holds for Lauren, she will be brilliant and we would like to play a small part in Loz's journey to recovery by donating whatever we can to help her cause. Even the smallest amount will help.
I have been asked to provide some additional details by Go Fund Me in the interests of transparency. My name is Rebecca Smaus, I am a friend of Lauren's having met her in about 2011 through Trinova, a triathlon training group in Newcastle, NSW where we both reside. A number of Lauren's close friends, training partners and her current Coach, John Hill, decided that we would create this page to assist Lauren and her family raise funds so that Lauren's mother could be by her side whilst she is in hospital undergoing further treatment and rehabilitation. Lauren's mother, Anne, has had to take time away from her two jobs and essentially relocate to Sydney during this time of significant stress for Lauren, these funds will go towards the costs Anne will incur in travel and accommodation and will help to cover other expeses given that Anne and Lauren will not be working. The funds will also be used to cover medical costs that are not covered by Medicare. Given the injuries sustained by Lauren and her prognosis, no doubt Lauren will require extensive treatment, ongoing rehabilitation and potentially modifications to her home in the future. Lauren also intends to explore treatment options overseas including clinical trials utilising stem cell research. Further details in relation to expenses will be provided as they become available. The funds will be paid directly from Go Fund Me to Lauren's mother for her to manage on Lauren's behalf.
Thank you so much for your assistance and for helping to ease the burden on Lauren and her family.
NSW’S LAUREN PARKER READY TO INSPIRE THE NATION IN HER QUEST FOR COMMONWEALTH GAMES
January 15, 2018
Twenty-eight-year-old Newcastle triathlete Lauren Parker could well become the inspiration of the nation in the countdown to this year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
The former Ironman triathlete, who was second in her age group in the Ironman World Championship in 2015, is now confined to a wheelchair after an horrific and freakish bike riding accident last April crushed her career and changed her life forever.
Parker’s accident left her without any feeling from the waist down after she crashed into a guard rail while travelling about 45km/h during a training session near Raymond Terrace – after puncturing both her tyres.
She sustained broken ribs, a punctured lung, broken scapula, broken pelvis and a broken back with only a one per cent chance of walking again.
But today, just nine months later and after months of rehabilitation, heartache and training, Parker pushed and puffed her handcycle and racing wheelchair for 28 kilometres around the streets of Melbourne’s St Kilda beach in her one and only chance to win Games selection - as a paratriathlete.
It was the Paratriathlon Continental Championships run as part of race three of the six-race Triathlon Victoria 2XU Triathlon Series.
Race organisers had to cancel the swim because of poor water quality – turning the race from a triathlon into a duathlon (run-bike-run) and the inspirational band of paratrtiathletes – young and old – world beaters and newcomers - pursued the course with just as much gusto.
Parker was second across the line behind Gold Coaster Sarah Tait and with two discretionary nominations available it is almost certain that both Tait and Parker will join ITU World Champion Emily Tapp in a three-strong Australian team when paratriathlon makes its Games debut.
For Parker, the prospect of turning her once blossoming Ironman triathlon career in paratriathlon has given her a new lease of life.
“I’ve only been on the racing chair for six weeks and the hand cycle and to be able to complete today’s race in an ok time I’m really happy,” said an emotional Parker, as she was swamped by over 20 members of her support team.
“I’m back doing what I love and that’s racing and I’m so excited to be back racing so soon after my accident; it’s hard to believe I can’t describe it.
“With regards to the Commonwealth Games I’m hoping it all works out and I do qualify; it would be really exciting if I did with lots of hard work between now and then.”
And she was quick to praise her support staff, coaches and fellow Novocastrian and Paralympic wheelchair legend Kurt Fearnley and her former training partner, carer and handler, former surf Ironman Brad Fernley.
“If it wasn’t for everyone around me; it’s like a team; it’s not just me; I wouldn’t be here without their support and the team; they got me to the finish line basically.
“Just training with Kurt under his renowned coach Andrew Dawes has been amazing, they are so supportive; I’ve had some good sessions with them.
“I’m very lucky to have them in my home town to train with one of the best in the world and with one of the best coaches I’m very happy doing three sessions of cycling and racing chair every week and four sessions of swimming.”
I read this article this morning and it truly warmed my heart to see Lauren's big, beautiful smile as she continues to do what she loves with that incredible human Brad Fearnely by her side. Brad has been Loz's biggest support over the past few years and I just love that they are racing together.
Don't forget about the Lauren Parker Foundation Ball being held on Saturday 17 March 2018 at New Lambton. Please head over to the Lauren Parker Foundation Facebook page to grab your tickets. This will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Lauren and the inspirational things she has achieved in her life and certainly in the last few months.
Help spread the word!
I feel that this quote is very fitting today. “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.”
Thank you for posting your photo Loz, for your positivity and for your grace in the face of great adversity.
We love you and we are with you.
PLEASE, if you haven't already shared the link to our Go Fund Me page, we would be very grateful if you could share it with your friends and family and consider donating to Lauren and her recovery.
What has lifted my spirits is that since this article was published, people have come from far and wide, from all over the world and supported Lauren through our Go Fund Me Page.
Of course we would love to raise as much money as possible to get Loz to wherever she needs to be for treatment and for her recovery but what has been most inspiring are the words spoken to Loz on the page. The stories people that have shared about someone else they knew, the information about organisations and centres that exist that may be able to help Loz, the blogs and articles that have been published in relation to Spinal Cord Injury and Stem Cell Research. Thank you. Thank you for caring so much.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to listen to Lauren's story and THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for taking an active role in Lauren's journey to recovery. The size of the donation does not matter, the act and the inspiring words are so uplifting.
Please keep sharing this article. The link to our Go Fund Me Page is at the end of the article.
Hi Lauren, I hope your rehab is going well. I recently learned something about Frequency Specific Microcurrent therapy. It is probably a 'long shot' (and perhaps non-relevant to your rehab), but here are some references in my recent blog post in Pain Matters (in Wordpress), FYI only: https://painmatters.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/frequency-specific-microcurrent-and-other-non-invasive-treatments-for-crps-by-dr-katinka/ Let us know how you are going! There are more people that care for you than you may realise! Sabine Walker Blogger, Pain Matters (in Wordpress)
Hi Lauren, I am so sorry to hear about this. Here is something I wrote about stem cells in my Pain Matters blog (in Wordpress), in case you haven't heard about this inspiring story: https://painmatters.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/stem-cell-treatment-of-spinal-cord-injury-one-case/ I wish you the best! Sabina Walker