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by Sandy MacGregor
In June 2010, Steve Donnelly was one of the bunch on a routine Sunday morning run with his Dundee Wheelers clubmates. Conditions were wet and on a bend during a descent, he gently touched his brakes. As sometimes happens, his back wheel slid away from him and he went down.
It was a fairly typical fall, only on this occasion it didn’t have the usual outcome of him picking himself up, checking the bike, then getting back into the saddle and on with the run. He landed the wrong way…and in that moment his life, and that of all those close to him, changed for ever.
Steve suffered injuries of the worst sort. His spinal cord was severed and he had to be airlifted to hospital. He has been in the spinal injuries unit of the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow ever since and will remain so for many more months.
Steve is paralysed from the neck down, the only part of his body he can move is his head.
The response to his situation has been overwhelming and heart-warming. Family, friends, clubmates and the wider cycling community–even complete strangers–have rallied to provide moral and financial support.
But Steve’s courageous struggle will be everlasting. So will that of his close family. His hospital care has been excellent but there is a limit to what the NHS can provide.
Steve will always need other assistance, things like voice-activated devices which can help make his difficult life a little more comfortable and independent. With enough support, it might even be possible for him to travel beyond the confines of the hospital and, hopefully, in the future, his specially adapted home.
By purchasing the Dundee Cyclists Calendar 2011, you will help make that possible.
Sandy writes editorials in the Dundee Courier and is a good friend of Steve.