CYCLING enthusiast Peter Pellicaan will make a 155km bike ride to give back to an aeromedical charity that rescued him after a motorbike crash eight years ago.
On December 6, 2009, Mr Pellicaan was riding a friend’s adventure motorbike on a dirt road next to the New England Highway when he hit a washed-out section that sent him and the motorbike flying through the air.
The Catholic convert, who is private secretary to Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, said he hit the section at 95kmh.
“The bike went about eighty metres and I went about fifty metres up through the air,” Mr Pellicaan said. “It just launched me.”
The accident occurred five weeks before he was to be married to his now wife, Leone.
He landed on his right hip, and the impact pushed his femoral head into the right-side of his pelvis leaving it “completely shattered”. He also fractured five vertebrae including his coccyx.
He would have sustained further injuries if the helicopter rescue crew from RACQ LifeFlight, formerly CareFlight, hadn’t arrived on the scene and rushed him to the Toowoomba Base Hospital.
“I didn’t actually know that I had been in the helicopter until the next day when it was in the newspaper,” Mr Pellicaan said.
“I don’t think I was ever going to die but I did probably as much damage as you possibly can to your spine without being a paraplegic.
“(The helicopter rescue) saved further injury.”
Despite being told he may never walk, Mr Pellicaan made a full recovery in 10 months.
He even made it to his scheduled wedding ceremony. The couple was “married in armchairs” to keep Mr Pellicaan at a 60-degree angle during the ceremony.
“I couldn’t stand up for longer than about four minutes and I couldn’t sit up straight so we had couches up the front,” he said.
“It wasn’t an ideal scenario and obviously it changes the realities of a wedding night when you’ve got a broken pelvis.
“Usually at your wedding you say, ‘For better or for worse’, ours was ‘For worse or for better’.
“Marriage is never just about a big day in a white dress; it’s about vows and commitment before God for life. It wasn’t an issue that I wasn’t very functional on the day.”
Since the accident Mr Pellicaan, who is a father of five, has never forgotten about the rescue team that lifted him to safety.
This weekend Mr Pellicaan will take to the road on a 155km bike ride to raise $12,500 for LifeFlight, the total cost of one of the charity’s rescue flights.
He will join the Tour de Rescue 2017 event today (August 13). It will be his third effort to raise money for LifeFlight and he only needs $6000 to reach his goal.
“I’m just grateful to LifeFlight because when you’re really stuffed you pray, ‘God, help me’ (and) he sends LifeFlight,” Mr Pellicaan said.
He said he took up cycling to strengthen his legs and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“Cycling is great for your headspace,” he said.
“It’s great for your emotional and spiritual health, which is related to your physical health, and allows you to unwind and to stay healthy.
“If you’ve had a stressful day at work you go half an hour on the bike and you feel better by the time you get home.”
LifeFlight has saved more than 44,000 lives since beginning in 1981, and in 2016 more than 1800 were rescued by the charity.
Support Mr Pellicaan’s fundraiser at his donation page.