A few of the wonderful people raising funds for research to cure spinal cord injury.

Project Edge gets a Spine Tingling boost thanks to an inspiring family and community

L to R: Andrew, Jodie, Margaret and Lud of the Kerec Family

Photos: Ashley St George

If you’ve ever wondered about the power of individual effort and community support – “how much difference can one person really make?”- this is a story for you!

SpinalCure was very pleased earlier this year to be named as a beneficiary of the inaugural ‘Spine Tingling Ride’.

We had, of course, never heard of The Spine Tingling Ride.

However, when we heard that Andrew Kerec was planning to ride 5,500 km across Australia from Canberra to Humpty Doo for Project Edge (alongside another, fantastic Canberra-based not-for-profit Hartley Lifecare), we thought he was a little bit crazy, but were naturally intrigued.

After speaking with Andrew, we found out that he had a deeply personal connection to the cause.

His father, Lud Kerec had suffered a spinal cord injury in 2010 while training for the Port Macquarie Ironman Triathlon event and was diagnosed with C5/C6 quadriplegia as a result.

Over time, Lud, Andrew and the family have come to adapt to this new ‘normal’ and have gone on to experience some spectacular adventures together, in spite of the devastating injury Lud suffered.

From this difficult event however, Andrew wanted to create some real positivity – by helping to support others who may be experiencing the same kind of difficulties they faced in the days, weeks and months after the injury and ultimately to help provide hope to those with a spinal cord injury by supporting some truly spine tingling research – Project Edge!

What unfolded over the months leading up to, during and after the ride was an awe-inspiring example of what one person, and the community surrounding them can do to make a difference.

SpinalCure CEO Duncan Wallace and EO Marketing and Partnerships Kate Retallack had the pleasure of attending the post-ride fundraising event in Canberra in mid-June, and what we experienced there was touching, humbling and inspiring.

Over 300 people packed Albert Hall to celebrate Andrew’s achievement, to rally around the cause and to skyrocket the fundraising effort even higher.

Many of these people had pledged, donated and supported the ride in someway already and many had contributed their services, or donated prizes to the event itself.

Everything was donated on the evening (and during the ride) – the hall space, the catering, every detail taken care of. And an incredible team of volunteers from Hartley Lifecare ensured it went off without a hitch.

As a result, Andrew, his family and the incredible community that surrounds them were able to raise an extraordinary $122,500.

This amount will be shared between Hartley Lifecare to support them in their vital work and SpinalCure Australia to directly benefit the Project Edge neurostimulation collaboration at UTS.

Andrew says of his experience

“It was such a privilege to be able to ride across our incredible country, supported by people that I love dearly and constantly inspired by their strength, unconditional love and resilience. I have no doubt I could not have completed this challenge without the sacrifice and support of my wife, Jodie and my man-wife Dougie!

A heartfelt thank you goes out to every person and organisation who helped to ensure the resounding success of the ride and event, and of course a very special thank you to Andrew and his family for their incredible effort and for choosing Project Edge as a beneficiary.

In these cases we often wish there was more that we could do to express our gratitude, words don’t feel like enough.

However, we know that the very best we can do is to ensure that the work that we are doing honours the work of people like Andrew Kerec, driving forward constantly towards the day when a spinal cord injury is not a life sentence.

We are that much closer thanks to the Spine Tingling Ride.

Spine Tingling Ride post-event gallery

The Spine Tingling Ride

Spine Tingling RideFrom Canberra to Humpty Doo by bike – a Spine Tingling Ride to help others

In March of this year, Andrew Kerec will take on the punishing, self-titled and self-designed ‘Spine Tingling Ride’ – a 5,450 km solo journey across Australia by mountain bike to raise funds and awareness for Project Edge and other life-changing not-for-profits and initiatives including Hartley Life Care and Livable Housing Australia.

The ride connects two places near and dear to the hearts of the Kerec family.


A close call inspires an Ironman challenge

Chris Garey after completing NZ Ironman for spinal research18 months ago, a mountain bike accident left Andrew Garey with a broken neck and a hair’s breadth from life as a quadriplegic. With support from his family and friends, and a long hard rehab program, Andrew is now back on his feet — so much so that he and his brother Chris took on the Ironman NZ triathlon at Lake Taupo to raise funds for SpinalCure. After a superb effort Andrew had to pull out before the end, leaving Chris to finish the gruelling race. The brothers raised over $3,500 for research! Well done and thank you.

Pictured: Chris Garey after finishing the race.

Immi K’s Afternoon Tea

ImogenNine year-old Imogen has done an impressive job of raising funds for spinal cord injury research by hosting an afternoon tea.  Imogen is a dancer and can’t imagine not being able to do so. As the granddaughter of renowned SCI physician Prof. John Yeo, she is well aware of the devastating effects of spinal cord injury and decided to raise funds for SpinalCure to help get people dancing again. Thank you to Imogen, and everyone who attended her afternoon tea!

Our favourite feathered friend!

Penguin BloomThe new book “Penguin Bloom: The odd little bird who saved a family” is a true story of hope and courage. It begins with a shocking accident, in which our friend and mother of three, Sam Bloom, suffers a near fatal fall that leaves her paralysed and deeply depressed. Into their lives comes Penguin, an injured magpie chick abandoned after she fell from her nest. The book features Cameron Bloom’s exquisite photography and is written by New York Times Bestselling author Bradley Trevor Greive. We are honoured that the Blooms, the author and the publisher are all donating 10% of their royalties to research!

Cam’s photo-journal of Penguin is a global Instagram sensation; see it here.

Get this inspiring book here

Running again… just!

Chris Barraclough and sonEarlier in the year Chris Barraclough had a close call with a spinal cord injury. He says, “I have never felt that kind of pain before and it took me … 2-3 months to be able to run without any pain.”  So Chris ran Perth’s City to Surf to raise funds for research. Many thanks Chris.

Pedalling from Perth to Melbourne

samandnickIn 2009 a fit, young Sam Berry was involved in a terrible bicycle accident that left him with five broken vertebrae and just a “paper-width” between full recovery and never being able to walk again. Thankfully for Sam, it was the former and he now wants to do something for those who weren’t as fortunate as he.

With his good mate and parter-in-crime Nick Phillips, the two have decided to cycle the long and arduous 3,600 km from Perth to Melbourne in June/July this year to raise funds for SpinalCure!

Show your support!

AFL Social Club’s Charity Bake Off

AFL Bake Off judgesOur friends at the AFL in Melbourne held a Charity Bake Off this week to raise funds for research. Special guest judge Shane Delia from Melburne’s exclusive Maha Restaurant was joined by two staff judges to consider AFL staff offerings in “Sausage Roll” and “Cake” categories.

Showing his culinary prowess Shane easily picked up on the ring-in “home-brand” sausage roll and wisely declined to taste it!

Many thanks to Dwayne Wathen from the AFL Social Committee and all involved.

Pictured L to R: judges Ellie George-Brimson (Umpiring Department), Shane Delia (Maha Resturant) and Andrew Gennai-Garino (Strategy Department).