According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 700,000 Australians have a brain injury, and as many as two in every three acquired their brain injury before the age of 25. And while it’s estimated that each year 1000s of young Australians will suffer a brain injury each year, given the right opportunities; their brains have an amazing ability to recover…
For the past three years the Turramurra and Lindfield Community Bank® branches of Bendigo Bank have enjoyed a mutually cohesive relationship with local foundation, Fresh Tracks. A registered charity, Fresh Tracks aims to improve the quality of life of young people suffering from an acquired brain injury through Cycle Hubs, music therapy, sailing, group programs and individual support.
Fresh Tracks CEO Alan Lawrence explains, “In 2014 we invited the Turramurra and Lindfield Community Bank® Branches of Bendigo Bank to come along to the Cycle Hub at St Ives. With that, Branch Manager Warren Dwyer came along as a representative of Bendigo Bank to see what it was all about and he was impressed by what he saw. Twelve months later, having suffered a severe stroke, Warren actually joined the program.”
Housebound due to a right visual field defect, Warren joined Fresh Tracks, in particular the Cycle Hub. Fresh Tracks make use of recumbent bikes and run programs aimed at strengthening and stimulating the brain.
“Fresh Tracks enabled me to strengthen my left and right scanning skills, and ability to judge distances and speed of other cyclists. They are all important skills, particularly navigating large groups of people during peak hour and on public transport. Going to Fresh Tracks, also gave me an opportunity to get out, to socialise and to interact with other people, which was an important part of my recovery.”
Now back at work three days a week Warren continues his therapy and also volunteers for the foundation. Along the way, Warren received more than just his mobility back.
“I’ve learnt resilience from the program. The things that some of these people have been through (and I’ve been through a stroke), but these guys go through a much tougher time than I do. They are all at different stages of recovery but it gives you so much appreciation for who the other participants are and what they do,” explains Warren.
In late 2016 the Turramurra and Lindfield Community Bank® Branches awarded Fresh Tracks with a Community Grant which was used to purchase a new bike for the Cycle Hub program. This incredible grant has provided an opportunity to bring new patients onboard to essentially improve their quality of life.
“The more cycles we can have at Cycle Hub, the more we can help those people in need. They’re expensive but they’re adjustable and robust which you need for the range of different people we cater for,” says Alan. “We’re so grateful for the support of Bendigo Bank. It’s wonderful to have a local bank supporting a local initiative to help people who live locally.”
Strokes and brain injuries can happen to anyone, but there’s hope; and our community is strengthened when we band together.
Visit freshtracks.com.au to find out how you can get involved.