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The incredibly talented, determined and courageous Lauren Parker is just 28 years young and was at the peak of an elite Triathlon career when tragedy struck.
Just over 2 weeks from racing Ironman Australia in Port Macquarie, on 18 April 2017, Lauren had a catastrophic bike accident in training that resulted in serious injuries to Lauren. Lauren’s injuries include a punctured lung, a broken scapula, broken ribs, a shattered pelvis, a broken T12 vertebrae and spinal cord damage. Lauren was admitted to the ICU at The John Hunter Hospital and underwent spinal surgery within hours of the accident, however Lauren remains paralysed from the belly button down and Doctors have given Lauren a very small chance of ever walking again. On 20 April 2017 Lauren was flown to the Royal North Shore Spinal Cord Injury Unit in Sydney for further treatment and ongoing rehabilitation. Lauren’s treatment could take up to 12 months and Lauren’s beautiful Mum, Anne (Loz’s best friend and biggest supporter) will be by her side.
Lauren and her family will face significant expenses over the next 12 months and beyond. From the outset, Lauren’s Mum has taken time away from work and will incur expenses associated with accommodation so that she can be with Lauren during her rehabilitation in Sydney.
For anyone that has ever had anything to do with Lauren, you will know that she is incredibly humble and kind, has a smile that just warms your soul and is one of the most consistent and committed athletes there is. Although Loz has faced setbacks in her life and as an athlete, through patience and sheer determination, Loz has always conquered any obstacles in her path.
Lauren comes from an elite swimming background, having competed at State and National levels and training with various Newcastle clubs. Loz was also a well regarded member of the Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club before beginning triathlon in 2008. Lauren initially began racing Sprint and Olympic distance events before setting her sights on the Ironman distance in 2014. Just 12 months later, Loz’s hard work and perseverance were rewarded when she qualified for and raced the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in 2015.
The many communities that Lauren is a part of are in absolute shock at the news of Lauren’s accident. At a time when the pain of looking forward probably seems too great for Lauren, we ask Loz to look beside her because we are here. We are here in the hundreds and thousands, we are here from all over the world from all different walks of life and we are all rallying for such an incredible [Iron]woman. We know that whatever the future holds for Lauren, she will be brilliant and we would like to play a small part in Loz's journey to recovery by donating whatever we can to help her cause. Even the smallest amount will help.
I have been asked to provide some additional details by Go Fund Me in the interests of transparency. My name is Rebecca Smaus, I am a friend of Lauren's having met her in about 2011 through Trinova, a triathlon training group in Newcastle, NSW where we both reside. A number of Lauren's close friends, training partners and her current Coach, John Hill, decided that we would create this page to assist Lauren and her family raise funds so that Lauren's mother could be by her side whilst she is in hospital undergoing further treatment and rehabilitation. Lauren's mother, Anne, has had to take time away from her two jobs and essentially relocate to Sydney during this time of significant stress for Lauren, these funds will go towards the costs Anne will incur in travel and accommodation and will help to cover other expeses given that Anne and Lauren will not be working. The funds will also be used to cover medical costs that are not covered by Medicare. Given the injuries sustained by Lauren and her prognosis, no doubt Lauren will require extensive treatment, ongoing rehabilitation and potentially modifications to her home in the future. Lauren also intends to explore treatment options overseas including clinical trials utilising stem cell research. Further details in relation to expenses will be provided as they become available. The funds will be paid directly from Go Fund Me to Lauren's mother for her to manage on Lauren's behalf.
Thank you so much for your assistance and for helping to ease the burden on Lauren and her family.