There but by the grace of God…

Posted: November 22, 2013 in Opinion, Uncategorized

I was driving home from a track event last weekend when I got a text from a fellow cycling parent asking if I’d heard anything about a boy from interstate who’d had a nasty accident.  Without knowing any real details he was suggesting we perhaps collect some money to donate to help the family out and he was the first to put his hand in his pocket.

I didn’t speak to this fellow cycling parent… I didn’t need to.  Whenever you hear about, or indeed see a junior in a crash, it really brings home the danger in this sport and the profound effect it could have on you and yours.

The boy in question is Sebastian Berwick – a first-year under-17 (who as a top-year 15 rider had some terrific results at nationals) – its still not known exactly what happened but he ended up in ICU needing five blood transfusions.  He suffered two punctured lungs; badly bruised kidneys and liver; he sustained six broken ribs; seven transverse processors off his spine (but thank God no spinal nerve damage or neurological damage); he has a broken collar bone and a broken scapular and possibly some nerve damage to his left arm. 

Sebastian powers to second place in Wagga at the JM15 National Criterium Championships in September.

Sebastian powers to second place in Wagga at the 2013 JM15 National Criterium Championships in September.

I’ve been in touch with Seb’s club and have offered, at the request of a number of kids down here in Victoria, to organise to raise some money for him and his family.  It seems the boys thoughts and desire to help is shared by the greater cycling community and Seb and his parents, Kevin and Leonie, have been inundated with offers to help.

Members of Seb’s local club (Balmoral) have organised a food roster; they’ve organised a local business close to the hospital (The Coffee Club) to donate food and coffee for the family while Seb is convalescing; one family has given Seb an iPad; while others have offered to ferry Seb’s sister, Laura (also a junior cyclist) to and from cycle training…

Seb’s dad, Kevin, said in an email: “The biggest thing the cycling community has done for us is to just be there for us. We have received Facebook messages, texts, phone calls, cards etc from all over Australia expressing their sympathy and wishing Seb a speedy recovery.  It has been so unexpected and so generous and I think it has really lifted Seb’s spirit, as well as our own, to hear everyone’s kind words, it’s extremely humbling to say the least.”

It struck me that here were some boys, and their families, from Victoria, who had rubbed shoulders with Seb, who is from Queensland, only a few times: at Nationals, some Junior Tours and the NJTS, and yet they felt compelled to help however they could.  While it speaks volumes for the kids driving this and for Seb’s character to have so easily made friends from around the country; I think it is also in recognition that this could have happened to any of us.  The kids think, it could have so easily been me; the parents, it could have been their son or daughter.

We count our blessings that it wasn’t, but its also easy to put ourselves in the Berwick’s shoes and this creates a strong and sincere desire to help how we can.

The Victorian boys will be doing a collection at the NJTS in Melbourne this weekend so if you see them and feel compelled, please donate something to help the Seb and Berwick’s in his recovery.  The boys are hoping the money can be used to repair or replace his bike and look forward to again rubbing shoulders with him in races in the near future.

Wishing you a speedy recovery Seb.

  1. Leonie Berwick says:

    Thanks cycling Dad. It is a heart felt written piece. As Seb’s parents we are truly grateful for everything. He is a very lucky boy.and I thank God all the time for allowing us more time with our precious boy. He is improving every day and although cycling can be dangerous, it keeps the kids fit and strong for when these times test them.

  2. […] told the story at the time (with a blog called There but by the grace of God); written from the point-of-view of a cycling parent and that this sort of accident could happen […]

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