A Melbourne man, who suffered a life-changing stroke at the age of 12, will soon begin the WA leg of an ambitious and potentially record-breaking physical challenge.
Tommy Quick, 28, is riding a three-wheel bicycle, known as a recumbent trike, on a 9000 kilometre journey to the four furthest points of Australia.
Tommy set off from Border Village in South Australia at the start of August and travelled to Port Lincoln. He will pass through Esperance, Busselton, Perth and Geraldton before resuming his ride at Steep Point, the western most point of mainland Australia.
Tommy said he has received a warm and welcome response from locals during his pit stops so far, along with honks and waves of support from vehicles along the road.
“People have been really interested in what I am doing and have also been openly sharing stories about how stroke has impacted them or their families,” Tommy said.
“It’s good to get people talking and thinking about stroke. I want them to know it can happen at any age, but it does not mean your life is over.”
After Tommy’s stroke, he spent five weeks in a coma and then learnt to talk and walk again against the odds.
“I have always set myself goals in my recovery, but this ride is by far the biggest,” Tommy said.
“It’s an enormous test mentally and physically, but I’m determined to give it my best shot. You’ve only got one life so why not aim high.”
As well as sharing his personal experience with stroke to raise awareness of the disease and break down pre-conceived perceptions about disability, Tommy is raising funds for Stroke Foundation. Funds raised will help Stroke Foundation deliver support programs to survivors of stroke and their families.
Stroke Foundation South Australia State Manager Luke Hays applauded Tommy for his drive and tenacity and encouraged Eyre Peninsula residents to support him.
“Recovery from stroke does not end when people leave hospital. It is an ongoing journey for the survivor and their families,” Mr Hays said.
“Tommy is an incredible example of what can be achieved with hard-work, determination and commitment. Not all survivors of stroke will be able to achieve what Tom has, but all gains in rehabilitation are important.”
“Tommy demonstrates there is life after stroke.”
Each year up to 600 Australian children suffer a stroke; one in 20 die and more than half of survivors will experience long-term impairments.
Tommy is keen to talk to school and community groups throughout his ride and for cyclists, joggers and ultra-marathon runners to join him for a section or two.