Community hops on rehab bike

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on November 25, 2017

HAVING his legs feel like they are encased in concrete is an everyday sensation for Albany man Kenny McGonnell, following a motorbike accident earlier this year which left him bound to a wheelchair.

To help his rehabilitation, Mr McGonnell’s friends sent an application to the Albany Community Foundation to raise money for a rehabilitation bike in Albany, as currently, Mr McGonnell can only use a bike in Perth.

The generosity of the Albany community paid off, with a large cheque being presented to Mr McGonnell on Saturday night.

Mr McGonnell went over the handlebars of his motorbike in a low-speed crash in May this year, which fractured his C5 cervical nerve and shattered his T6 thoracic nerve.

He currently has metal rods to support his spine along his T4 to T7 thoracic nerves.

To aid his rehabilitation, Mr McGonnell uses a rehabilitation bike which stimulates his muscles through functional electrical stimulation.

This device is helpful for Mr McGonnell’s rehabilitation and for other people affected by similar injury or illness.

It would be a grateful addition to Albany’s health rehabilitation services.

The Albany Community Foundation threw together posters and money tins in just 48 hours after receiving the fundraiser application, so they could promote Mr McGonnell’s cause at the Great Southern Football League grand final in September.

Thousands of dollars were raised within the first few days of the event, with more than $23,000 raised by the community and $4500 donated by the Albany Community Foundation.

Mr McGonnell was presented with the two cheques on Saturday night at the Albany Community Foundation charity ball.

“It’s amazing to see how generous people are,” Mr McGonnell said.

“The bike in Perth has definitely been helpful, as it maintains my muscle bulk and stops muscle spasms.

“With this injury, my legs feel like they’re encased in concrete, so the bike definitely gives some relief.

“But, I don’t want it [the bike] just for me, I’d rather it for everyone’s use.

“We are trying to find a place for the bike to live at the moment, so it can be shared.”

Volunteer board member for the Albany Community Foundation Sarah Moir was also enthused by the kindness of the Great Southern community.

“It’s really inspiring and heart-warming to see so many people wanting to donate,” she said.

“It’s great to see how the local community can come together.”